Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla on Sunday said the Election Commission would consider the requests for advancing the counting day (October 22) for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana after visiting Mumbai and Nagpur on Thursday and Friday.
“We are visiting Maharashtra to hold discussions with State government officials and political parties on the preparedness for the October 13 poll,” Mr. Chawla told The Hindu. After returning to Delhi, the full Commission — Mr. Chawla and Election Commissioners S.Y. Quraishi and V.S. Sampath — would meet and take a final decision. He pointed out that October 22 was fixed after taking into consideration various aspects, including the hilly terrain in Arunachal Pradesh where quick movement of men and material was restricted, the cushion period required for repoll, if any, and intervening Diwali holidays.
Even if the Commission wanted to consider advancing counting in Maharashtra and Haryana there was hardly a few days of gap between the polling (October 13) and Diwali (October 17) and in the interim period the possibilities of holding a repoll after getting detailed reports from the observers/election officials had to be considered. Again, the counting staff and those involved in elections might be interested to be with their families a few days ahead and after Diwali, he pointed out. “All this things have to be carefully examined before taking any decision.”
To a question, Mr. Chawla said the Commission had already obtained the views of the Haryana government and parties on counting day during Saturday’s Chandigarh visit.