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5-state assembly polls in April?

By R RAJAGOPALAN
Last updated on: November 30, 2020 17:00 IST
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IMAGE: Voters show their voter cards at a polling booth during the 2016 assembly elections at Bandhlodanga in Birbhum, Bengal, April 17, 2016. Photograph: PTI Photo
 

Will the elections to Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry assemblies be advanced by a month, to April 2021, because of the scorching summer?

Elections in these states are otherwise due in May.

A final decision is likely to be taken on December 2, when the full bench of the Election Commission meets in Nirvachan Sadan, its headquarters in New Delhi.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the two election commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar, will deliberate on various issues, including advancing the polls in the five states.

They will also draw up a timetable for deputy election commissioners to visit the five states from December to January to study the ground situation there.

On the election commissioners's agenda is the revision of voters list, availability of central police force for the conduct of the elections, considering the reports of the all-party meeting organised by state chief electoral officers, the examination schedule in these states, weather conditions, local festivals, and the availability of schools and public premises for polling booths.

Perhaps the most important item on their agenda is to study the lessons learnt from Bihar election conducted under Covid protocols.

As per the draft agenda for the meeting, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain is likely to visit Chennai in December while Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha may visit Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram in January to ensure the poll machinery is ship-shape.

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R RAJAGOPALAN in New Delhi
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