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EC undecided on early polls in Assam
GUWAHATI, Feb 4 (Agencies):
Published on 5 Feb. 2011 12:20 AM IST
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The Election Commission seems to be undecided on the early polls in Assam despite requests made by various political parties in the state, reports express news service.
“We have taken inputs from the parties. As four other states (West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry) are also going to polls, we have to see things in totality,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi told journalists here on Thursday, a day after his meetings with various political parties and top government officials. The ruling Congress as well as the principal Opposition party, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and others wanted the polls before Rongali Bihu, celebrated on April 14 every year.
Accompanied by Election Commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma, Quraishi arrived here on Wednesday. The CEC said their visit to the state was a routine exercise in preparation of the polls.
“We did detailed analysis, discussing with the officers vulnerability mapping. We also reviewed the history of violence like who the mischief-monger is and who can create problem during the elections,” the CEC said.
The Commission, Quraishi said, has created a new division by drawing officers from the Income Tax department to control and monitor election-related expenditures by various political parties.
“We have tough guidelines. We are now fine-tuning the guidelines based on our experience,” he said.
The Commission has decided to engage micro-observers at all the sensitive booths. The micro-observers will also keep an eye on the parties’ poll-related expenses. The Commission will also engage a booth-level officer at every single booth. He will be from the locality for the convenience of the voters. Quraishi disclosed that the Commission would distribute voters’ slip for the first time in Assam.
“All unlicensed arms would be seized based on the Intelligence. The Intelligence gatherings have to be smart,” the CEC said. He assured that efforts would be taken to ensure that militants, those in ceasefire and also those who came forward for peace talks, remained confined to the designated camps.
Asked if Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, out on parole, can vote, Quraishi said he could vote if his name was on the voters’ roll. “Militants whose names figure in the electoral roll will be eligible to cast vote,” he said.
The CEC cautioned that action would be initiated against the officers if they were seen taking sides with any political parties.

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