They cite the festive season and Diwali as their reasons
MUMBAI: Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla has said that political parties who met him were unanimous in their demand that the date of counting of votes for Maharashtra’s Assembly elections should not be advanced. Assembly elections in the State will be held on October 13 while counting is slated for October 22.
The Election Commission (EC) comprising Mr. Navin Chawla and Election Commissioners Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and Mr. V. S. Sampath, was in Mumbai on Wednesday to assess poll preparations. Mr Chawla told a press conference that the Congress, the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were not in favour of advancing the date of counting, citing Diwali and the festive season.
Mr. Chawla said the issue of advancing the date of counting was raised by the press in Haryana. Members of the press wanted to know why there was a gap of nine days. The EC would meet parties in Nagpur on Thursday and take a decision on the date of counting after returning to Delhi. The EC also reviewed the situation after the communal riots in Sangli, Miraj and Kolhapur.
Mr. Chawla made a special appeal to parties to take the mock polls seriously. The EC has set aside an hour for the mock polls on the day of the elections and Mr. Chawla requested all political parties to be present so that they could check for themselves if the voting machines were functioning well. He admitted that the Shiv Sena had protested against the appointment of Mr A.N. Roy as DGP for the elections. Mr. Chawla said it was in keeping with a well-defined policy and even last time during the Lok Sabha elections, DGP S. S. Virk was not allowed to participate . Besides, Mr Virk was on extension and nobody on extension is given election duty.
Mr. Chawla expressed satisfaction over the poll preparedness in Maharashtra.