The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll panel visit next week

New Delhi, Nov. 7: A full-bench team of the Election Commission will visit Gujarat next Monday. It will spend two days in the state to review the situation ahead of the Assembly polls scheduled on December 12.

The commission has had its way with the home ministry on the deployment of 400 Central Reserve Police Force companies in Gujarat for the polls. At a meeting with chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh today, home secretary N. Gopalaswami assured the commission that adequate forces will be made available well in time for poll duty.

There was an apprehension in the commission that the home ministry might hedge on the commission’s request for the number of forces it has demanded for Gujarat.

Gopalaswami, however, said the ministry has issued instructions for the deployment of the first round of 200 companies as part of the Gujarat government’s ‘confidence building’ measures. These forces will be made available by November 22.

The poll panel reciprocated the gesture, saying: “The commission would like to place on record the continuance of harmonious working relations with the Union government in respect of requirement of forces whenever necessary for any election.”

The visit aims at encouraging the riot-affected people to participate in the elections. The commission has had success with such confidence-building measures in Kashmir. A series of measures has already been taken.

The commission has instructed the Narendra Modi government to take down all hoardings offensive to the sentiments of the minority community.

It has also asked the government to transfer officials posted in a district for more than four years.

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