EC rules out early Assembly poll in WB

Panel team in state to oversee preparations

“There has been no approach either from the Opposition or from any other party for advancing the Assembly elections. There has not been any occasion to think of this... This has been a propaganda in the media,” Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi told reporters here.

Qureshi and his colleague V S Sampath, who arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit, held a prolonged video conference with all the district magistrates of the state on Wednesday to keep themselves posted with the details of electoral roll and other activities related to the poll. The meeting was attended by other senior state government officials.

Qureshi’s statement comes amid increasing demand for early polls from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the wake of the CPM-led Left Front suffering a series of electoral reverses since the May 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The Opposition TMC that claimed the Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee government lost the right to remain in power after losing people’s mandate, made several representations to Governor M K Narayanan in recent times to complain about the “CPM terror tactics” and the “deteriorating law and order” in the state, in an apparent attempt to build up the case for early polls.

TMC supremo and Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee had also claimed at public meetings of having knowledge of advancing elections to October-November this year.
Qureshi, however, maintained that elections in the state “are still ten months away and the mission of the EC team, during its Kolkata visit, is to oversee the preparations for that”.

“We have come here to accelerate the electoral process and to check the preparations of voters ID cards. The election is ten months away. So the electoral process needs to be completed before that,” he said.

Besides overseeing the preparation of voters ID cards, the EC team will inquire into the details about revision of the state’s electoral rolls, beginning on July 9. The EC members are also expected to hold talks on maintenance of EVMs.

During the video conference with the district magistrates, the commission stressed on the need for achieving the target of 100 per cent Electoral Photo Identity Card in the coming state Assembly poll.

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