Poll panel to consider single phase voting in Tamil Nadu

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CHENNAI - The Election Commission Thursday said it will consider the demand of single phase polling in the coming assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, given that four other states would also be going to the polls around the same time.

“Most political parties have asked for single phase elections in Tamil Nadu. Around the same time Puducherry, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam will also be going to polls. So we have to see the feasibility of the demand of the political parties,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S.Y. Qureshi told reporters.

Queried about the demand of ruling DMK that the results should be declared within two or three days after the elections, he said the commission would look into the demand as other states will also be in the poll mode. The results of Tamil Nadu should not influence the voters in other states.

According to Qureshi, polling in all the five states will be bunched together around the same time.

“We have take into account the festivals, school exams, weather and other parameters before announcing the election schedule,” he added.

He said the Commission’s model code of conduct announced during the recent Bihar elections will be fine-tuned for other states going to polls soon.

On the issue of political parties carrying out their campaign through their television channels after 10 p.m. putting at disadvantage those parties not having a satellite channel, he said: “In Tamil Nadu all the major political parties have their own TV channels. We have to see how a level playing field could be created.”

He also said the Election Commission will also look at the possibility of proceeding against media outlets resorting to “paid news”.

“It is deceit and needs to be curbed,” he said.

He said the commission plans to use the railway network to carry the electronic voting machines from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu.

“It will take around 160 trucks to carry the EVMs to Tamil Nadu,” he noted.

Referring to his meeting of political parties earlier in the day, Qureshi said most of the parties had expressed the concern of partisan attitude of the polling officials and the use of money power in luring voters.

“We will take disciplinary action against the polling officials. The minimum punishment of transferring them will be given if they are found guilty,” he assured.

The CEC also met the top officials of the state government, district collectors and police during the day in connection with the ensuing elections.

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