|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Elections in Bihar on October 18
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | September 03, 2005 15:49 IST
Last Updated: September 03, 2005 17:55 IST
Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon announced four phase polls for the 243-seat Bihar assembly at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
Addressing the media, Tandon said polling will be held on on October 18, October 26, November 13 and November 19.
In the first and second phases, the elections would be held in 61 assembly contitutencies each. While in the third and the fourth phases, the elections would be held in 72 and 41 constituencies respectively. Counting of votes would be taken up on November 22 and the entire process would be completed before November 23 as directed by the Supreme Court of India.
N Gopalaswamy and Navin Chawla, the other two election commissioners, were also present during the press briefing. The commission made this announcement after a long deliberations that began on Saturday morning.
The poll notification for all the four phases would be announced on September 23 and 28, October 19 and 26. Last day for filing nominations would be September 30, October 15 and 26 and November 2.
Srutiny of nominations would be taken up on October 1, 6, and 27 for the first three phases while the date for the fourth phase would be November 3. Last date of withdrawal of candidature would be October 3, 8 and for phases I, II and III. For the last phase it would be November 5.
"The Bihar assembly was dissolved on May 23, 2005 and under the Supreme court directive, we have to complete the process of elections within six months of the dissolution of the assembly. We would complete the process by November 22," Tandon said.
Over 5.27 crore voters would exercise their franchise. "We had 50,060 polling booths last time, but this time we would have 7,300 additional polling stations. The dates had to be staggered because of long holidays which include Diwali and Chatt Pooja. We would have adequate number of central para military security forces available for deployment and movement. We must express our displeasure at the law and order situation. We are really not happy," Tandon said.
He wondered how come the number of persons against whom the nonbailable warrants have been issued kept on increasing each time the commission asked for a status report on the matter. "We were first told that the figure is 27,123. When the commission went to Patna a new figure of 70,189 was presented to us. The director general of the state police in his report dated August 31 has put the figure around 76,471," he said.
The para military forces would be deployed under the supervision of the observers appointed by the commission and the commission would keep also an eye on the situation. " The model of code of conduct comes into effect immediately and it applies to all the political parties, the government of Bihar and the union government with respect to Bihar," he said.
The commission told the newspersons that extensive videography would be done to ensure that the polls are free and fair.
A special drive to unearth illegal arms will also be conducted to take out a list of anti-social elements before elections, he said, adding that voter identity cards will be mandatory on polling booths.