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Assembly polls in TN to be held before May 21
January 09, 2006 18:23 IST
Tamil Nadu Assembly polls will be held before May 21, Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon said on Monday.
After a review meeting with eight district collectors and other officials, along with Chief Election Officer Naresh Gupta and Deputy Commissioner Anand Kumar in Coimbatore, the CEC said the Assembly term was coming to a close in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and the Union Territory of Pondicherry between May 21 to June 13.
The EC wanted to conduct the elections before this, he said.
Tandon said, after the review meeting at Madurai and Chennai on Tuesday, they would decide on the Tamil Nadu election date.
He said that, as on January 1, 2005, the total electorate in Tamil Nadu was 4.63 crore and efforts were on to include the names of those who had completed 18 years tby January 1, 2006 in the electoral rolls.
Draft electoral rolls would be completed soon and final rolls in hard and soft copies made available to all political parties before February end. Final electoral rolls would be displayed at all important places, including post offices for the benefit of voters.
Tandon said the state had 45,745 polling booths and the EC wanted not more than 1,200 voters in each booth. If necessary, auxilary polling booths would be made available if any booth exceeded this number.
Stating that the Election Commission was not satisfied with the issue of Election Photo Identity Cards as far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, Tandon said it had issued EPIC only to 54 percent of voters in the state.
Efforts were on to increase this percentage by issuing cards through mobile vans in three months. Identification would be mandatory for frachise votes.
Asked about state funding for conducting elections, Tandon said to bring about consensus among the political parties, the EC had called an all-party meeting on February 15 at New Delhi, which six national political parties and 44 state parties would attend.
The Commission had asked political parties to give their views on the matter before January 31. To a question on criminalisation, he said the EC had given its views to the Centre and he hoped they would be considered.
When asked whether state Assembly elections would be conducted on the lines of Bihar, he said each state would have a different atmosphere.
All election proceedings would be videographed not only on the election date but earlier and during counting, too. He said the Commission was planning to install digital cameras in all polling booths in Tamil Nadu, for which the EC was working out the strategy.
To another question whether the Tamil Nadu Assembly poll would be conducted in a single phase, he answered it was too early to say.