August 29, 2010

Polls in West Bengal on due date only: CEC

KOLKATA: Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi Friday said the assembly elections in West Bengal will be held at their due time only and not be advanced.

'There is no question of advancing assembly elections in West Bengal. Time for the polls is still away. And we have no reports to advance polls,' he said, adding that the assembly elections were due before June 11, 2011.

Participating in an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Quraishi said: 'Nothing on the radar. We come into the picture only six months before the due date. Before that we have no locus standi at all.'

'Before Dec 11, 2010 we are not in the picture at all. We can only say that the assembly elections in the state will be held between Dec 11, 2010 and June 11, 2011,' he added.

Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee has been insisting on early polls in the Left Front-ruled state citing 'breakdown' of law and order there and that the government has lost the moral right to continue in office.

Quraishi maintained that they are satisfied with the preparedness of the state government, but declined to answer to a question whether the polls will be held in phases.

'The preparation of electoral rolls is our first priority and when the appropriate time will come, we will decide if the polls will be conducted in phases or not.'

Asked about the unexpected number of fresh applications for voter identity cards submitted, he said: 'We will ensure error free voter list will be prepared.'

'The independent observers, who came twice to oversee the preparation process, verified the 56 lakh new applications submitted before the state election commission,' Quraishi said.
He said that the independent observers will again come to oversee the process and a survey will be conducted to erase the names of the voter, who have migrated to other places or died.

Quraishi also said that people without voter identity cards would no more require any affidavit to cast their votes this time. 'People without voter cards are requested to communicate with the booth level officers for getting voter cards,' he said.
The poll panel chief was later scheduled to hold a meeting with the district magistrates and other state officials to discuss the poll preparedness.

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