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Complete LS polls within three weeks: CPM to EC

February 03, 2009 17:07 IST

The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Tuesday suggested that the next Lok Sabha election should not be spread over more than three weeks and that stoppage of all ongoing developmental activities during the entire poll period be reviewed.

The party also opposed the blanket bar on using school and college grounds as venues for public meetings, saying these could be used on holidays as otherwise agricultural land would be used for the purpose, to the detriment of the farmers' interests.

These recommendations came at the all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission to discuss poll dates and related issues, in which the CPI-M was represented by Politburo member and parliamentary leader Sitaram Yechury [Images].

The party stressed that the poll schedule should not be stretched out too much, with Yechury suggesting that it should not exceed three weeks at the most, party sources said.

In states like Kerala [Images] and Tamil Nadu where one-day polling have been held, the same practice should be maintained. There was no need for having multi-phased polls in such states as it would only stretch resources and security requirements, they said.

Asserting that the practice of stopping development work for the entire period of elections should be reconsidered, Yechury said continuing developmental activities like those under the rural employment guarantee scheme should not be disrupted.

The CPI-M, which had earlier blamed some Special Observers sent by the EC to West Bengal for 'exceeding their limits of jurisdiction and playing politics', also asked the poll body to specify the power and role of such observers as also those of the state and local election officers.

Yechury is understood to have alleged that in many cases, the observers exercised their authority "superseding" the Chief Election Officer and other state officials.

At times, the observers also took decisions without the knowledge of the state polling officers, leading to "many complications and impediments" in the smooth functioning of the election machinery in states.

The CPI-M leader sought delineation of powers and roles of special officers as also those of the state poll officials so that they could "act in unison and conduct the poll in a collective way".

Maintaining that there were "innumerable" errors and inconsistencies in the final voters list published on January 20, Yechury said these were particularly noticed after the delimitation of constituencies.

"All errors must be rectified and caution taken to avoid errors in the remaining voters list," he said.

Referring to West Bengal, Yechury said there were "numerous complaints" in constituencies bordering Bangladesh about BSF personnel "interfering" in the poll campaign, "threatening local people, obstructing campaign and movement of campaigners and candidates in the villages adjoining the borders."

Yechury wanted strict instructions given to BSF and issuance of guidelines to prevent their interference in political and election process.

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