The six-member special Election Commission team visiting West Bengal to assess the law and order situation there is expected to return this weekend and submit its report, according to Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath.


In a brief chat with journalists here on Friday, he said the Commission was in a state of preparedness for holding elections. But still some minimum logistics were required and this would take some time, he added.

Mr. Sampath, who is here to attend a two-day Cambridge Conference of Election Commissioners from South Asia, said the participants would exchange ideas, discuss the best electoral practices and also the problems.

The Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre is organising the event in association with the Foundation for Advanced Management of Elections (FAME) from India.

Regional symposia

He said the Election Commission had earlier organised regional symposia and asked collectors and superintendents of police to exchange ideas on innovative practices.

Later briefing journalists, Anil Seal, Director, Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, said election commissioners from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, besides Ghana were attending the meet.

He said South Asia had more voters than any other single continent — more than a billion voters — from 2.5 lakh voters in the Maldives to 710 million in India.

They include countries which have successfully moved from the bullet to the ballot box. Election commissioners from South Asia have come together for the first time.

The former adviser to the Election Commission, K.J. Rao, who was also present, maintained that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) could not be tampered with.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi will address the conference on Saturday.