Tuesday, October 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

5 states go to polls on Nov 20, Dec 1
Affidavit on antecedents of candidates must
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 6
Elections to the Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Assemblies will be held on December 1, while Mizoram will go to the polls on November 20, the Election Commission announced today.

Formal notifications for the Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Assembly poll will be issued on November 7 while for Mizoram it will be issued on October 27, Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh told a press conference here.

The elections would be held in all these states on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and this round of elections would be the first when proxy voting would come into effect for ‘service voters’ belonging to the armed forces.

The filing of affidavits by the candidates along with their nomination papers listing their criminal antecedents, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications was also mandatory by virtue of the implementation of the Supreme Court direction, Mr Lyngdoh said.

While the last date for making nominations in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh would be November 14, scrutiny of nominations would take place on November 15. The last date for the withdrawal of nominations would be November 17.

In Mizoram, the last date for nominations would be November 3, scrutiny of nominations on November 4, and the last date for withdrawal of nominations November 6.

The counting of votes would take place on December 2 in Mizoram, while in the other four states it would be taken up on December 4. The entire election process would be completed on December 9 in Mizoram and in the other states on December 11.

The Election Commission had also decided to hold the Assembly byelections in Sitamarhi, Fatwa (SC) and Barachatti Assembly constituencies (in Bihar) and Mahsi and Harora (SC) seats (in Uttar Pradesh) on November 20.

The model code of conduct would come into immediate effect in the states going for the polls and in whole of the district in which the whole or part of any Assembly constituencies were going for the byelection, Mr Lyngdoh said.

The identification of voters would be compulsory either through voter identity cards or other identification documents approved by the commission, Mr Lyngdoh, flanked by Election Commissioners T.S. Krishnamurty and B.B. Tandon, said.

The election dates were announced after the three-member election panel held a discussion this morning with Union Home Secretary N. Gopalaswami with regard to the availability of adequate Central forces for the free and fair conduct of poll.

By virtue of the implementation of the directions of the Supreme Court with effect from March 27, it was mandatory for all candidates to file an affidavit along with the nomination papers furnishing information on their criminal antecedents, moveable and immovable properties (of self, spouse and dependents), liabilities and educational qualifications, Mr Lyngdoh said.

District election officers had been instructed to compile the information of affidavits for all Assembly segments falling in their district and make available consolidated information for the district to any person desirous to obtaining such information on the payment of copying charges, he said.

With regard to proxy voting, Mr Lyngdoh said: “The service voters have the option of either to vote through proxy or through postal ballot papers.”

Learning from the experience of conducting poll in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, the commission had decided that in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan 50 per cent of the presiding officers and 50 per cent of the polling officers in every district would be from outside the districts concerned.

In Delhi, the presiding officers would be drawn from officials of the Central Government. “Detailed instructions are being issued to the Chief Electoral Officers outlining the modalities for enforcing this decision,” he said.

Referring to the plethora of complaints pertaining to discrepancies in electoral rolls, Mr Lyngdoh said: “Taking serious note of the lapses, the commission took prompt action to rectify and correct the discrepancies.”

“In both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh action was taken immediately after the receipt of complaints to rectify the errors and only after satisfying itself of the quality of the exercise the rolls were finally published by June-end.”

In Delhi, action for the scrutiny of rolls was taken up by deputing teams from the commission to different Assembly constituencies from where complaints emerged, he said adding that in August-September special observers drawn from senior IAS officers of the Central Government were drafted to assist the commission in supervising the scrutiny of electoral rolls and EPIC programme in Delhi.

The tenure of the Mizoram Assembly comes to an end on December 7, Delhi on December 13, Rajasthan on January 3, and Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh on January 31.


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