Shimla: Putting to rest all speculations about any rescheduling of election dates, chief election commission N Gopalaswamy categorically stated that the polling scheduled announced would be followed, adding, that to accommodate school examinations the dates of the second phase of polls could be advanced but not postponed.
Outrightly rejecting the congress party’s plea for rescheduling of poll dates the CEC said “The first phase of the assembly elections will be held on November 14 and the second phase on December 19 as scheduled.”
Addressing a press conference after holding a review meeting of district administrative and police officials about preparations for conducting the polls Gopalaswamy said, chief secretary Ravi Dingra has been asked to look into the matter of the conduct of school examinations in December. To adjust the school examination schedule which was brought to the notice of HP School Education Board chairman BR Rahi, the election date could be advanced by 15 days, he said. This decision would be taken within two days, he added.
Responding to a question about two set of elected members coming into existence in the situation of holding an early poll, the CEC quoted the People Representation Act of 1951 and said that such a situation had been foreseen and was permitted under the constitution. “There was no constitutional crises as the law is very clear on this matter,” he said. The CEC said the announcement of elections was the prerogative of the commission and was not bound to hold consultations with the state government.
He said that about 84.77 per cent population of Himachal, which had over forty lakh voters, has been issued election photo identity cards. However, ways and means would be devised to ensure that people without voter identity cards were also allowed to cast their votes, he added.
The commission said that they did not apprehend any violence in the ensuing polls but as there was a shortfall of police force in the state, some central forces would be requisitioned to make up.