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One-day election in Delhi, Rajasthan, M.P. and Mizoram

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J. Venkatesan

Two-phase poll in Chhattisgarh; no decision yet on J&K

NEW DELHI: The Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram will be held between November 14 and December 4, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.

No decision has been taken on holding the polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Chhattisgarh, polling will be held in two phases on November 14 and 20 and in the other States it will be a one-day exercise.

Madhya Pradesh will go to the polls on November 25, Mizoram and Delhi on November 29, and Rajasthan on December 4. Counting of votes in all the States will be taken up on December 8.

On elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami told a press conference here: “The Commission had visited the State and held discussions with leaders of various political parties. We are still assessing the situation and will get back to you as soon as we take a decision.”

Asked about the Centre’s willingness to provide adequate forces for the polls, he said, “Forces are one part of the issues. There are so many other issues. I do not want to say anything more.”

Asked whether it meant elections would not be held there before March 2009 because of winter, the CEC said, “That you leave to us.”

Flanked by Election Commissioners Naveen Chawla and S. Y. Qureshi, Mr. Gopalaswami said: “The Model Code of Conduct will come into effect immediately. It will apply to the whole of the five States and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties, the State Governments and the Union Government from today [Tuesday] itself.”

The Commission said: “There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as a forum for election propaganda.”

It has issued guidelines for video coverage of all critical events during the election process and polling at all vulnerable booths. Digital cameras will also be deployed inside the booths wherever needed.

Identification of voters at the booths at the time of polling is mandatory. At present, the EPIC (Elector’s Photo Identity Card) coverage in Chhattisgarh is 64.51 per cent; in Madhya Pradesh 85 per cent; in Mizoram 91 per cent, in Rajasthan 84.63 per cent and in Delhi 80 per cent. Electronic voting machines will be used at all polling stations.

Based on an assessment of the ground situation, Central Police Forces and the State Armed Police drawn from other States will be deployed.

The Commission will deploy 650 general observers.

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