Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi on Sunday expressed the Commission’s inability to consider changing the poll schedule in Uttarakhand from the already announced January 30 as the date had been decided considering various factors including weather condition.
He claimed that the poll dates announced by the Commission was widely welcomed by the people and political parties in different States.
He was reacting to The Hindu on the concern expressed by State Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri and Congress president Yashpal Arya who claimed that there could be snow falls in some regions of Uttarakhad during January end and hence poll should be postponed to middle of February 2012.
“The Commission fixed the date after consulting experts in the Indian Metrological Department too and it was informed by them that the snowfall could be more only in the second week of February. Moreover, if the polling gets affected due to snowfall in one or two places there is always possibility of adjustment,” Mr. Quraishi said.
The term of the present Assembly of Uttarakhand ends on March 13 and Punjab on March 14 and before that the elections had to be completed, results declared and the new House needs to be constituted in both the States. There should be some time gap between the declaration of the results and constitution of the new Assembly after the new government took over.
Moreover considering the huge geographical area, electoral strength, movement of security forces and sensitive nature of Uttar Pradesh, the poll there should be held in multi phases and the polls in that State could not be held separately later as the polling/results pattern in one State might affect the election results in other States.
“So the polling and the counting of votes in all the States have to be completed by first week of March to enable the constitution of the new Assembly in Uttarakhand and Punjab by second week of March and hence the polling date was fixed as January 30 considering various aspects including examinations,” Mr. Quraishi added.
Mr. Khanduri had on Saturday claimed that it would be snowing in the mountain regions of the State throughout January and sought postponement of the poll. Given the inclement weather, elections in January could have an adverse impact on voting, he had said.
Mr. Arya had said election in January was not only inconvenient for the parties and the voters but would also be a challenge for the Commission.