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Gujarat polls may be single-day affair
May 09, 2007 17:02 IST
The Gujarat Assembly polls due in the end of 2007 may be just a single day affair, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami hinted on Wednesday.
"It is possible to hold a one-day poll in Gujarat as it was done in Maharashtra. There is no apriori (general principle) decision that every state must have polls in one phase or more," the CEC said in an interview.
He was responding to a question on whether Gujarat polls would also be staggered like the seven-phased UP polls. The term of the present Assembly in Gujarat expires on December 26.
"Elections are still six months away in Gujarat. Our assessment on whether it should be held in one phase or more will be made at the relevant point of time," he said.
The question of deployment of security forces for smooth conduct of polls would also be made just before the announcement of elections, the CEC said.
Appearing relaxed a day after the successful conclusion of the month-long exercise in UP which went off "reasonably well", the 63-year-old CEC responded to questions ranging from criminalisation of politics, enforcement of model code of conduct and allegations of the poll panel assuming "extra-Constitutional powers".
Gopalaswami said that the panel was pursuing Photo Electoral Rolls in the state.
"We would like by 2009 General elections all the states to go for Photo Electoral Rolls," he said adding this would enable identification of the voters whether they bring Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) or not at the time of voting.
Kerala and Puducherry have 100 per cent photo electoral rolls and Tamil Nadu and Haryana are in the process of completing the exercise.
Asked how the Commission would proceed if Gujarat faced a CD controversy similar to the one in UP, Gopalaswami said "we do not prejudge any issue. When the polls are announced, we will see."
The CEC refrained from making any comments on the anti-Muslim CD row ahead of UP Assembly polls. The Commission had asked BJP to strongly condemn the CD while keeping in abeyance its final decision on the demand for de-recognition of the party under the Symbols Order till the investigation was over.
Asked whether booth capturing, rigging and largescale poll violence were things of the past, he replied cautiously, "I think in this election, we have managed without that".
But, he candidly admitted that "one cannot be too sure that for every elections this may not happen".
Citing adequate poll security arrangements made in UP, he said if the same mechanism cannot be put in place elsewhere, "there is always a lurking danger".