Friday, August 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Poll not yet: EC report
Lyngdoh leaves for Gujarat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The situation in Gujarat is not conducive for members of the minority community to vote fearlessly, a high-level Election Commission team, which toured Gujarat last week, is understood to have told the three-member Election Commission.

In its voluminous report submitted to the commission today, the nine-member team, which was headed by Deputy Election Commissioner A.K. Jha, is understood to have said minority community, which are still living in relief camps or outside their homes, may not be able to participate in the elections if these are held immediately.

The report was submitted a few hours before the three-member Election Commission panel was to leave for Gujarat to have a fresh look at the situation in the state. It has pointed to the fact that the minority community constitutes about 12 per cent of the population and many of its members are either living in camps or have not returned to their homes.

It pointed out that those who were still living in camps might not be able to participate in the elections in the prevailing atmosphere.

The team was despatched to Gujarat last week following conflicting claims by the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress and Left Parties about the state’s preparedness to hold Assembly poll.

The team, besides meeting senior police and administration officials and representatives of political parties and non-governmental groups, also visited relief camps.

It toured all riot-hit districts and also visited Godhra.

The commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh and Election Commissioners T.S. Krishnamurthy and B.B. Tandon will take a decision on when to hold the poll in Gujarat after their tour to the state.

The commission panel, which left for Gujarat this evening, will visit Ahmedabad and Vadodara.

This is only the second time that the full commission is visiting a state to review the situation before deciding on the poll schedule. In 1996, the then CEC T.N. Seshan and Election Commissioners M.S. Gill and GVC Krishnamurthy had visited Jammu and Kashmir before the Assembly elections there.

The panel will return on Sunday and is expected to take a decision in this regard by next week. 

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