New CEC to focus on voter rolls, rules out advancing TN, WB polls

Last Updated : 30 July 2010, 09:20 IST
Last Updated : 30 July 2010, 09:20 IST

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Quraishi today said there was no question of advancing Assembly elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu as time for the polls was still away.

"Nothing in the radar. We come into the picture only six months before the due date. Before that we have no locus standi at all. At the moment there is no question of Tamil Nadu on our table," the CEC said when asked whether the poll panel would advance elections in Tamil Nadu due in May 2011.

After assuming office, Quraishi told reporters here that "the election commission would continuously strive to deliver free and fair elections wherever and whenever required".
Quraishi, a former bureaucrat, is the first Muslim to occupy the CEC's post. He joined the poll panel as a member in 2006 and has taken over from Navin Chawla, who held the post for one-and-a-half years. Quraishi will serve for two years.

"We are already working systematically to achieve a perfect electoral roll at the earliest," the 63-year-old said. "We not only deal with issues as we confront them, we try to anticipate several of them."

Quraishi said that while the framers of the constitution insulated the Election Commission from all possible pressures, it is the judiciary that has zealously guarded the independence of the panel against any assault.

"The Supreme Court has assured that this commission only grows stronger," he said.
The new CEC said he is encouraged "by the fact that some of the overdue electoral reforms have started receiving the attention of the government and the parliament".
He hoped that other "important reforms would find acceptance at an early date".
"In great institutions (like the EC) priorities do not change overnight; they do not change radically either," he added.

Quraishi said the multi-member poll panel has the "principle of equality as its hallmark" and any transaction is marked by continuity. "This has contributed to the impartiality and absolute neutrality of the commission at all times," he added.

Published 30 July 2010, 09:20 IST

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