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EC to visit J&K to assess situation for poll

Our Delhi Correspondent | October 06, 2008 20:51 IST

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J&K Poll

The full-bench Election Commission, led by Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami is going to Srinagar [Images] on Tuesday to assess the situation for the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] assembly polls in consultation with all stakeholders.

The poll dates for this and five other assembly elections are expected to be announced on Saturday.

Besides, Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S Y Qureshi, the team also includes the commission officials who have made three trips to the state to review preparations for conducting the elections.

On Tuesday, the team would be calling on Governor N N Vohra and will hold meetings with the chief secretary and director general of police, civilian, army and security officials to have their perceptions once more for holding the poll in November, the commission sources said in Delhi [Images].

They said the commission would be consulting the political parties in the state on Wednesday. The team would be back in Delhi either Wednesday evening or on Thursday.

A full-bench meeting of the Election Commission is slated to take place on Saturday to draw up the election schedule for the Jammu and Kashmir elections, based on its assessment from the Srinagar trip, as also for the assembly elections in five other states -- Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh [Images], Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.

The home ministry has already assured to provide Central paramilitary forces for the J&K elections as per the commission's requirement for conduct of the elections, the sources said.

Yet, the chief election commissioner and his colleagues would be consulting the Union home secretary once again on Thursday or Friday before they draw up the poll dates. The polls will be in three or four phases.

Once the election schedule for the six assembly elections is announced following the weekend meeting, the Election Commission's code of conduct comes into force, preventing the governments doling out any further sops to influence the voters.

The commission's intent is to first complete the J&K polls in November and then only go for the elections in other states as it has enough time to conduct the elections in other states.

The Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram assemblies complete their terms on December 14, that of Delhi on December 17, Chhattisgarh on December 21 and Rajasthan on January 14 and as such the elections in these states are likely to take place in the first week of December or up to December 10.

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