Political parties ready for elections by May 18January 28th, 2009 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Political parties Wednesday said they are ready for the Lok Sabha elections, which will be held by May 18 as indicated by Election Commisssioner S.Y. Quraishi.“Although it has not been announced officially, it was expected that elections would be held by mid-May and we are ready for it. We have been serving the people for five years and it has been a kind of preparation. We are ready to go to the electorate,” said Shakeel Ahmad, spokesperson of the Congress that leads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Asked about the selection of candidates, Ahmad said: “The process is already on. The Congress Working Committee is meeting Jan 29 and soon all the announcements would be made.”
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too said it was ready for the general elections.
“We are ready for the elections. The process for candidate selection is already on and we would announce the names of most of the candidates by the second week of February,” BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS.
However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said it was waiting for the official announcement of the election schedule.
“We cannot say anything now. We will react after getting the official schedule,” A. Vijay Raghavan, central secretariat member of the CPI-M, said.
Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has said that the next parliamentary elections will be held by May 18.
“It’s an open-and-shut case in the sense that in March (general) elections are not possible” because of school examinations, he told a gathering of British academics and politicians after delivering a lecture in London Tuesday on the Jammu and Kashmir polls held in December.
Most polling centres are normally located in school buildings.
“Beyond May we cannot go. So that leaves us with only April-May,” he said.
“Parliament has got (life) till May 30 but since there are three other states that are going to polls — Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim — it will be a close tie,” Quraishi said.
The Sikkim elections, due by May 22, is the chief factor in deciding the cut-off date.
“We cannot have general elections in Sikkim on May 15 or 20 and ask the Sikkimese to come for state elections earlier. Therefore, May 22 is our due date,” he said.
“Working backwards … we may start on the 8th or 10th of April and finish on the 15th-18th of May,” said Quraishi, who was on his way back from Stockholm where he attended a meeting at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).