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Home > News > PTI

Election Commission gears up for Karnataka polls

December 30, 2007 17:20 IST

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Political Crisis in Karnataka

With assembly polls in Karnataka due in early 2008, the Election Commission is focussing its attention on the southern state which promises to be a key battle ground for a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, striving hard to wipe out its recent setbacks.

The Commission is laying special emphasis on the meticulous preparation of electoral rolls, as it did in the case of big states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, to weed out bogus voters.

As part of its serious efforts to ensure fair elections, the Commission deputed the Chief Electoral Officers from Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala [Images] and Orissa to Karnataka to oversee the preparation of the voters' list.

The teams have already submitted their feedback report to the Commission, EC sources said. The poll panel has also directed 12 senior officials from Karnataka to supervise the preparation of rolls in each district, they said.

"We are gearing for the Assembly polls in Karnataka," a senior EC official said, adding that the Commission was closely
monitoring the revision of electoral rolls in Karnataka, where the House was dissolved last month when the BJP-JD(S)
coalition resigned ahead the trust vote.

The official said that over the years, the EC has moved from the macro-management to micro-management in order to maintain accuracy of rolls through checking the male-female ratio against the census data of the area, vulnerable mapping and assessment of votes.

The Commission has introduced a system in which the voters' names in the electoral rolls would be read out in the
Panchayats in rural areas, while in urban areas, this task would be entrusted to the Resident Welfare Associations.
Since the election has to be completed by May, that is within six months from the date of dissolution, the Commission
has already drawn up elaborate arrangements to finalise the electoral roll.

According to the schedule, the final publication of the electoral roll, with January 1, 2008 as the qualifying date, should be published by January 10. Though the terms of some assemblies in the northeast expire in March, there was no indication from the EC yet on whether elections in Karnataka could be held simultaneously to pave way for installation of an elected government at the earliest.

After wresting Himachal Pradesh from Congress and retaining Gujarat, BJP is now aiming at Karnataka, where it
had tasted power for a brief period -- the first such experience by the saffron party in the southern region. "In a few months from now, Karnataka will elect a new legislative assembly. I have no doubt that my party will
secure a majority on its own whenever elections are held in Karnataka," senior BJP leader L K Advani had said recently.

Gearing up for the forthcoming polls, Congress has said that it would put in place a war strategy within a
fortnight to stage a comeback to power in the state. "Our strategy would be to bring the Congress back to
power and defeat the communal forces. We can do it through proper management and proper selection of candidates," senior Congress leader and former chief minister M Veerappa Moily has said.

On the Janata Dal - Secular front, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has said he would spearhead his party campaign in the coming assembly elections.

"The coming elections will be fought under my leadership with advise from senior leaders. I will form the government with majority support," Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister and JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda, has said.

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