The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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EC plans Gujarat recce

New Delhi, Oct. 22: The Election Commission is likely to send a high-level team to Gujarat for a recce in the first week of November before announcing a poll schedule.

Sources indicate the panel will fix polls in mid-December. There has to be a 40-day gap between announcement of the schedule and the date of polling.

Last time, the commission had decided against polls after assessing the ground situation despite pressure from the BJP. The BJP had then accused chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh of being in “collusion” with the Congress.

While the BJP and chief minister Narendra Modi had insisted that the situation was “normal”, Lyngdoh had chided Gujarat officials for doing too little for the victims. His comments led L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley to point fingers at the panel.

But the commission is now gearing up for polls and has already alerted the state machinery. Last week, the panel asked Modi to transfer all civil and police officers posted for four years or more in their home districts or elsewhere.

Commission officials said such steps were essential to conduct clean and impartial elections. The voters’ list has also been revised to include missing persons and people in rehabilitation camps. The lists have been put up for public scrutiny.

The state government has a mammoth task ahead. It will have to transfer officers in the rank of collectors, returning officers, assistant returning officers, deputy commissioners, sub-divisional magistrates, IGs DIGs, deputy SPs, inspectors and sub-inspectors. Reports said the state has started compiling the list.

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