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ECI decision to not announce Gujarat poll dates surprises former CEC S.Y. Quarishi

Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi.  

Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has said that the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to not announce the dates for Gujarat Assembly polls even as it announced the dates for Himachal Pradesh elections, created a “ground of suspicion” as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Gujarat next week.

The terms of both the Assemblies come to an end in January 2018.

The model code of conduct comes into effect the moment the Election Commission of India announces the poll dates, barring the government from announcing any new scheme or project.

Mr. Quraishi said the Commission’s decision also went against the “spirit of simultaneous polls.”

‘Unfortunate action’

“What were the compulsions of the Commission to announce the poll dates for Himachal and not Gujarat? They must have some good reasons to justify this. Mr. Modi’s visit to Gujarat next week creates a ground of suspicion and its unfortunate,” he said.

Mr. Modi is expected to address booth level workers of the BJP at Bhat village on the outskirts of Gandhinagar next week.

“I am quite surprised by the Election Commission’s decision as the Gujarat Assembly also expires around the same time as Himachal Pradesh. Why didn’t they club it?” he said.

 

Impact on governance

Different schedules would also impact governance, he felt.

“The results of both the States will be announced together as the results of one State, if announced before, could influence the results in another. The model code of conduct paralyses administration, governance and other works. It goes against the spirit of simultaneous elections,” he said.

After announcing the poll date, the Commission discussed security issues with Home Ministry officials.

A senior Home Ministry official conformed that the Commission did not convene any meeting of security forces prior to its announcement. He said, ''Before elections are announced, the Commission asks the Home Ministry about the availability of forces and their deployment pattern. No such meeting was held before [Thursday’s announcement]. The Commission called a meeting after the dates were announced.”

The official explained since both the States were “peaceful”, the requirement of large number of forces was not desired.

“Requisition for central forces have come from both the States and we will decide soon,” said another Home Ministry official.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 6:09:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-poll-schedule-delay-raises-suspicion/article19846992.ece

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