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Poll dates in 5 states by October 1st week

Our Delhi Bureau | September 15, 2008 17:27 IST

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EC seeks briefing with J&K government over poll

Barring the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] assembly elections, the Election Commission is gearing up to announce the dates for elections in five other states of Delhi [Images], Madhya Pradesh [Images], Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram in the first week of October.

Counting will be completed and results announced in these states by December 5 as per a tentative calendar drawn up by the commission.

The commission has, however, not yet given up its plans to hold the J&K elections as well, but separately.

Pending a final round of discussions with the state governor by the end of this month, a source said the commission "is already in the process of finalising the poll dates, deployment of the Central forces and observers in J&K."

As regards the five other states, the final round of consultations with the chief electoral officers is nearing completion.

The commission is also giving final touches to the schedule of paramilitary deployment and posting of the Central observers.

On Monday, the commission summoned the top officials of the Madhya Pradesh government to review the assembly poll arrangements. This is the tird round of discussions with these officials, the sources said.

In the past three months, the deputy election commissioners visited the states going to the polls four times and they have submitted their reports to the full bench of the commission, the sources said.

They pointed out that the whole exercise for holding the elections takes four to five months as it starts with revision of the electoral rolls, issue of the photo identity cards and identification of the poll booths.

Another major task for the Election Commission is to select the Central observers who keep a watch on the electoral activities in the concerned state on behalf of the commission.

The guidelines mandate the selection of only the IAS officers who have put in 10 years of service as the observers and do not belong to the state where the polls are taking place.

The observers get two months of leave from their posting and they are are required to visit the constituencies allotted to them three to six times till the date of the counting.

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