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EC reviews poll process in AP, satisfied

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
March 13, 2009 21:23 IST
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The Election Commission has decided to allow deployment of Angwanwadi workers and Vidya volunteers to be used as election personnel in the next month's simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly.

At the conclusion of the two-day visit to the state to review the poll arrangements along with the two election commissioners, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said, "More staff is required because the state is having concurrent elections to the assembly and the polls.

However, these workers will be used only for applying indelible ink on the fingers of the voters.

The state with 5, 66, 87,957 voters will have 66,346 polling station at 41,469 locations. Compared to the last elections in 2004, the number of polling stations has gone up by 10,000, he said.

After the review meeting with the district collectors and the district superintendent of police on Friday, Gopalaswamy said that 90% of the voters in the state were covered with the photo identity cards. The cards will be distributed over the next few days and preparation of the photo ID cards will continue till one week before the polling date, he said.

The three election commissioners including Navin Chawla and SY Qureshi met the representatives of the major political parties in the state and received their representations.

The demands of the parties include provision of identical electoral rolls to the returning officers and the candidates, closure of all unlicensed liquor shops and a strict watch over use of money and liquor power in elections.

On the complaint of the opposition parties against the Director General of Police SSP Yadav for his alleged pro-Congress attitude, Gopala Swamy said that the commission will take a decision by day after tomorrow after going in to the details of the case and seeing the CD.

The opposition had demanded his removal after the DGP alleged made remarks praising the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in a press conference in Kurnool last week.

At the same time, in a comment which is likely to jolt the opposition, the CEC lauded the officials for the effective implementation of the model code of conduct in the state.

"We have found that the work done in regard to the implementation of model code of conduct is highly satisfactory. We have asked the officers to continue the good work," he said.

When asked to comment on the populist promises being made by the political parties in the garb of draft manifesto, Gopalaswamy said Lok Satta leader Jayprakash Narayan had raised the issue before the commission and, citing few articles of the Constitution, had asked them to be treated as unlawful. "We will have to examine it and take a view", he said.

The CEC refused to make any comment on the continuing problem with the Indian Premier League because of its clash with the election dates.

"We are bothered by our match. We are the umpires for the politicians' match in the field of election. We are not bothered about any thing else and we don't offer opinion on that (IPL)," he said.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad