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Missive on poll date shift

Hazaribagh, March 6: Former external affairs minister and sitting Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha today shot off a letter to Election Commission (EC), requesting it to hold polls in Hazaribagh constituency on April 17 instead of April 10.

The EC yesterday announced a three-day Parliamentary poll schedule for Jharkhand on April 10, 17 and 24. Five constituencies, including Hazaribagh, out of the 14 in the state would go to polls on first day, the commission declared.

Sinha in his letter, however, pointed out to the EC that polling was not possible on April 10 as the date coincided with Ramnavami festival, which was celebrated with huge pomp and show in the district. “It will be a tough task to put curbs on traditional weapons that different akhara members carry during the processions,” Sinha wrote.

His representative Bansi Rukariyar handed over the letter to Hazaribagh deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer Sunil Kumar in the afternoon.

Leaders of various political parties also raised the issue in a meeting with Kumar.

Cutting across party lines, they agreed over the fact that it would prove to be a Herculean task for the district administration to ensure security as more than 100 akharas would hit the roads with their processions, involving more than 1 lakh people.

Taking cue from Sinha, CPM district secretary Ganesh Kumar Verma also shot off a missive to the EC, demanding poll on this seat be held on April 17.

Verma later said, “The festival will also cast its effect on polling percentage as well as the overall result. The EC can easily overcome such a situation by holding the polls here on April 17.”

The district administration officials claimed that only the commission could take a decision in this regard.

DC Kumar said, “I have informed to the demands of the political parties here in Hazaribagh to the commission and will wait for their guidelines.”

Highly placed sources, however, said that the commission would shift the polling date in Hazaribagh to April 17.