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Bihar chief secretary prefers polls in November

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | May 28, 2005 00:01 IST

Bihar Chief Secretary K A H Subramanian has suggested that assembly polls in Bihar should be held only after the Chhath festival in November.

"Some districts of north Bihar get submerged and some are marooned completely from June end or July till September every year due to floods. There is no possibility of holding polls in such a situation," he said.

He said that even after flood waters recede, October is full of festivals including Chhath.

"We have suggested our views regarding the poll dates, but it is for the Election Commission to take a final decision. We are bound to go by the EC's decision in this regard," he said.

In reference to some political parties, particularly the National Democratic Alliance's demand to hold polls in one day or one phase instead of two or three phases, Subramanian said the state administration would prefer to hold polls in one day, but for that, the Centre would have to provide at least 2,000 companies of para-military forces.

Meanwhile, an EC team began its three-day visit to Bihar on Friday morning to assess whether the state is ready for polls.

The team met top government officials and leaders of major political parties to find out their views about the poll date.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-United leaders met the EC team members separately and called for a one-day poll, preferably by the second or third week of July.

The NDA stressed the need for the deployment of para-military forces at all polling stations 24 hours before voting under the supervision of the EC observers.

Congress state president Ram Jatan Sinha also favoured a one-day poll, but not early elections like the BJP and the JD-U.

Lok Janshakti Party leader Satish Kumar after meeting the EC team said the polls should be held only in October or November.

The EC will decide on the possible dates of the next assembly polls on the basis of the team's report.

"The team will submit its report to the EC on Monday," an EC source said.

Deputy Election Commissioner Anand Kumar and the EC's legal advisor S K Mendiratta met and held discussions with officials of the state EC, followed by a high-level meeting with the top brass of the state administration.

The team will meet the district magistrates of Patna, Bhagalpur and also those of the flood-prone districts in the next two days.

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