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|January 2, 1998||
BJP objects to long poll schedule
The Bharatiya Janata Party has raised objections to the ''unnecessarily prolonged'' Lok Sabha poll schedule announced by the Election Commission. The party says the entire electoral process should be shortened.
Senior BJP leader Professor Vijay Kumar Malhotra said such a long schedule was ''unprecedented'' and would cause several problems. He suggested that elections to the three North-Eastern assemblies and the three ''sensitive'' Jammu and Kashmir seats should be de-linked from the Lok Sabha poll, which could have been held from February 20 to 27.
''In the present schedule, Delhi will go to the polls on February 16, but counting will begin only on March 7. It is not advisable to have the counting after such a long time. The Election Commission should look into this and change the dates to shorten the entire process,'' Professor Malhotra told a press conference in the capital on Friday.
Asserting that the BJP would make a clean sweep of all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, he did not see any threat to the party from Sonia Gandhi campaigning for the Congress. ''It will prove counter-productive for the Congress as several issues like Bofors and the HDW submarine deal will now be raised during the election campaign,'' he added.
Professor Malhotra also urged the Election Commission not to ban opinion and exit polls during the campaign. Describing the demands for such a ban as ''anti-democratic'', the BJP leader said these polls were the essence of democracy. He claimed that such demands were being raised because the polls were in the BJP's favour.
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