Poll panel decision on Karnataka by mid-April

March 4th, 2008 - 11:59 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Bangalore, March 4 (IANS) The Election Commission will decide by mid-April whether to hold assembly polls in Karnataka before May 28, when president’s rule in the state ends. “A decision to hold elections in Karnataka as per schedule (before May 28) or later will be taken by April 15. Our decision will be based on the preparedness, including completion of electoral work, especially in the redrawn constituencies as per the delimitation notification,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami told reporters here Tuesday.

The three-member poll panel reviewed the electoral work being undertaken across the state in the run-up to the impending polls at a daylong meeting with deputy commissioners (DCs) of all districts and officials, who are involved in redrawing the 85 constituencies.

Besides CEC (Gopalaswami), Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S.Y. Quereshi also met representatives of seven leading political parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

“We are quite satisfied with the report of the DCs. Final voters’ lists for existing constituencies (139) will be ready by March 10 and in municipal corporations by March 15. Preliminary work for redrawing constituencies has been completed in nine districts. Work in the remaining 20 districts will be completed by March 15,” Gopalaswami said.

“We are hoping the entire work, including new electoral rolls and final voters’ lists in the 85 redrawn constituencies will be ready by April first week. We will assess the work and take a final decision between April 10-15 after considering all other factors, including those raised by the political parties,” Gopalaswami pointed out.

The BJP and JD-S favour holding polls by May 28, while the Congress, BSP and CPI-M are opposed to polls before the due date, and the JD-U is non-committal. The CPI said the hot summer month was not conducive to holding polls.

Karnataka is under president’s rule since Nov 29 when the BJP government in the state fell Nov 20 after a week in power. As per the law, elections to the 225-seat legislative assembly have to be held within six months or before president’s rule expires May 28.

On the time required for redrawing constituencies after the notification of the delimitation commission was issued Feb 14, Gopalaswami clarified that the commission would need at least six months as the complex work involved assembly and parliamentary constituencies in 24 states across the country. In a single state, the work can be accomplished in two months on priority.

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