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|September 23, 1999||
JD (U) delegation makes 'constructive suggestions' to EC
A Janata Dal (United) delegation met the Election Commissioners today in accordance with the Patna High Court order and placed the party's suggestions to ensure free and fair elections in Bihar. The court yesterday directed the party to approach the EC with its apprehensions. Acting on a Public Interest Litigation over the alleged printing of excess ballot papers for Nalanda and Barh, the court also said the EC should take appropriate measures to ensure free and fair polls.
The delegation, comprising Lallan Kumar Singh and Samata Party General Secretary Jaya Jaitly, explained in detail the JD (U)'s apprehensions. The two leaders said they made ''constructive suggestions'' to prevent the misuse of ballot papers at the polling stations during the next phase of elections or during counting.
Singh and Jaitly said the full bench of the EC heard their suggestions patiently and the response was positive. The meeting comes close on the heels of a war of words between the EC and JD (U) over the allegations by George Fernandes, Samata Party chief and party candidate from Nalanda, that excess ballot papers were printed for his constituency at the Saraswati Press in Calcutta.
The leaders said they believed the excess ballot papers were ''obviously printed'' at the Saraswati Press but were not delivered to the official representatives of the state government or the returning officer since it was meant for misuse at Nalanda, Barh and other constituencies. Discovery of a large number of duplicate ballot boxes earlier and printing of excess ballot papers, they said ''fitted into the systematic pattern of rigging being attempted by the ruling party in Bihar in collusion with certain pliant and partisan officials.''
EC sources said the Commission would take the suggestions into consideration in their effort to conduct free and fair elections in Bihar.
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