The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 23 , 2014
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Celebrate festivals first, vote later
Sampath indicates Nov. date for polls

Ranchi, July 22: The eagerness of state BJP to go for early Assembly polls riding on the coattails of NaMo apart, chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath is inclined towards the logic of the JMM and Congress who want Vidhan Sabha elections after Chhath, which falls on October 29.

Sampath hinted as much this evening before mediapersons after wrapping up his two-day deliberations, with political representatives yesterday and bureaucrats today.

“At present, Jharkhand is witnessing south-east monsoon and October will witness many festivals including Durga Puja, Diwali and Chhath. We will take a final decision based on many considerations,” Sampath, who led a six-member Election Commission of India team, said.

At the six-hour meeting with bureaucratic top brass, including commissioners, IGs, DIGs, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police at Sri Krishna Institute of Public Administration (SKIPA) in Kanke, Sampath stressed on smooth, fair and violence-free polls in the rebel-hit state.

Chief election commissioner VS Sampath (in black suit) with state electoral officer PK Jajoria at Sri Krishna Institute of Public Administration in Ranchi on Tuesday and (right) DCs and SPs attend the meeting to discuss the Assembly polls. Pictures by Prashant Mitra

The EC team asked the administrative backbone to complete the process of ongoing revision of electoral rolls by the end of July. So far, it appears there are 2.03 crore voters, including 96 lakh women.

Asking officials to start booth-wise planning, deployment of police personnel and so on, he assured them of full paramilitary support. He also heard out issues specific to Jharkhand and stressed on basic facilities in polling stations. “I have asked the government officials to see to it that maximum number of polling stations have electricity and approach roads at least,” he said.

He also asked for a single window system in the offices of returning officers where political parties can approach for several permissions.

Directions have been issued to DCs and SPs to ensure dummy Independent candidates do not file nominations.

JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya also said he hoped there would be fewer phases. “There were five phases in December 2009 Assembly polls. More days mean more expense and logistical pressure for regional parties.”

Along with Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir will go to Assembly polls this year-end. Sampath and his team have already visited Maharashtra.