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CEC begins review of Bihar polls

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | August 25, 2005 12:55 IST

Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon began reviewing of poll preparations in Bihar on Thursday by holding discussions with representatives of various political parties and the state's top civil and police officials.

Official sources said Tandon and the other election commissioners, N Gopalaswami and Navin Chavla, who arrived in Patna on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit to the state are taking stock of the situation for holding polls.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav is set to meet Tandon to apprise him of his party's stand on making photo identity cards mandatory for voting. Lalu Yadav has time and again said that in the name of mandatory card thousands of voters from weaker and down trodden section would be denied rights to vote.

Bihar is likely to go to assembly polls in October or November 2005.

According to sources, of the 5.3 crore voters in the state, over 2 crore voters are yet to get the much publicised photo identity cards. The photo identity cards have been made mandatory for voting by the Election Commission this time.

The state administration has earlier been directed to provide photo identity cards to all the voters by September 15. However, going by the tardy work, there is little hope that all the voters would be provided cards.

Officials said they would also review the security arrangement for polls and look into the demand of central paramilitary forces by state administration to conduct free and fair polls.

The poll panel will assess the progress made in preparation of electoral photo identity cards and execution of pending non-bailable warrants.

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