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|October 30, 1998||
EC notifies assembly polls in 4 states
The Election Commission today issued the notifications setting in motion the elections to the assemblies of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram, and the Bharuch (reserved) Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat.
Polling will be held for 70 assembly seats in Delhi, 320 in Madhya Pradesh, 200 in Rajasthan and 40 in Mizoram. An estimated 220 million voters are expected to exercise their franchise.
The Bharuch by-election was necessitated by the death of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Candubhai Deshmukh.
Harish Salve, counsel for the commission, told the Supreme Court yesterday that the EC will soon issue another notification banning the conduct or publication of opinion polls up to 48 hours before voting begins. Exit polls will also be banned.
Elaborate security arrangements are being made to ensure smooth conduct of the polls. In Rajasthan, which has 30 million voters, 75,000 security personnel will be deployed at 40,800 polling booths. The state has sought 290 companies more of central paramilitary forces.
In Madhya Pradesh, a drive has been launched to round up anti-social elements. More than 30,000 arms have been deposited in various police stations, A N Singh, additional director-general of police (intelligence), told reporters.
Meanwhile, political parties are still wrestling with the selection of candidates. The BJP's central election committee is to meet in New Delhi from November 2-4 to finalise its lists. Screening committees of the Congress are also giving final shape to the party's lists of candidates.
In Madhya Pradesh the contest will be between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP. Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has indicated that he will switch from Chachoda constituency to Raghogarh in Guna district.
Three former chief ministers -- Shyama Sharan Shukla (Congress), Sunderlal Patwa and Kailash Joshi (both BJP) -- and several former MPs and state ministers are likely to contest. Shukla may contest Rajim.
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