M A I N   N E W S

Haryana goes to polls on Feb 3
Three-phase Assembly elections in Bihar, Jharkhand
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 17
Setting the battle for ballot in motion in the three crucial states of North India, the Election Commission today announced one day poll in Haryana and three-phase elections for violence-prone states of Bihar and Jharkhand.

Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy addressing, a newspersons said the polling in Haryana would take place on February 3. Bihar and Jharkhand will go to the polls in three phases — February 3, 15 and 23.

The counting of votes will take place on February 27 and the entire process will be completed by March 5.

He said the notification for the three assemblies by the Governors of the these states would be issued on January 10, 20 and 29. The last date for filing nominations would be January 17, 27 and February 5 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature would be January 20, 31 and February 9.

The constituencies covered in the different phases of polling would be announced later. Critical and extremist infested areas of Bihar, Jharkhand and entire Haryana would go to the polls in the first phase.

“The Model Code of Conduct comes into immediate effect and any violation will attract strict action,” Mr Krishnamurthy said.

He said the Code would apply to the states of Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand and would be applicable to political parties and to the state governments of these states. For the Centre it would apply in respect of these three states.

The CEC said Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav’s December 23 “Maha-rally” in Patna would be monitored. “We will ensure free and fair elections and any violation will be noticed by the commission”, he said.

The term of the 90 member Haryana Assembly is to expire on March 8, 2005 and the term of the 243-member Bihar and 81 member Jharkhand Assemblies are to expire on March 6, 2005.

The CEC said the electronic voting machines (EVMs), which were successfully used during the last general election and four legislative assemblies, would be used in all the assembly segments of Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said the force deployment would be “double” that of the General Election, held in April/May early this year.

Making a departure from the past, Krishnamurthy said this time a general observer would be deployed in every constituency while an expenditure observer would be deployed for the district. Earlier, the EC used to deploy two general observers and one expenditure observer for every district.

For the first time, the Commission has decided to ban entry of media camerapersons into the polling stations with the CEC saying “in our opinion it is not necessary. It only affects the work inside the polling station.”

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |