New Delhi: Putting to rest speculations over a deliberate delay in the announcement of election dates, sources in the Election Commission on Wednesday remarked, “We have our own schedule”.
It was on March 5, five years ago, when the Election Commission had announced dates for General Elections 2014.
Taking note of this, several Opposition parties pointed to the delay in poll schedule for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and insinuated that the EC is working in tandem with the Centre- by allowing the Modi government an extended window to announce sops and launch schemes while touring.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, a senior Election Commission official said, “ We don’t operate as per PM’s schedule, we have our own schedule.” The official also pointed out that this time, the dates allow for a slightly more relaxed schedule.
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The same report quoted him, “In 2014, the last date of delivering results for General Elections was May 31, and the poll schedule was announced on March 5,” the official told NDTV. “This time, the last date to deliver results for General Elections is June 3, so we have enough time and there is no delay,” he added.
The term of the 16th Lok Sabha expires on June 3 and so the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha must be held by June 3, as the first session of the last one was held on June 4- which presumably gives EC ample time to announce the poll schedule.
‘ELECTION WILL BE HELD ON TIME’
Addressing the press last week, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora had said that the tense India-Pakistan relations will have no bearing on the upcoming general elections in April-May this year.
The top poll panel official said, “Elections will be held on time.” When asked about the possible notification of the Lok Sabha poll dates, Arora said the media and the country would come to know of it through the “usual press conference”, as is the norm.
Over the past few months, Election Commission officials have been touring the country, assessing the poll preparedness and holding meetings to ensure a stress-free polling this Lok Sabha election season.
EC VISITS J-K
Earlier this week, the officials visited Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under the Governor’s Rule and held a press conference- where CEC Sunil Arora said that almost every political party in the state is on the same page in favour of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
“Almost all the political parties we met have favoured simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections. The state administration has also favoured holding them simultaneously,” he said.
Asked if simultaneous election would be held in Jammu and Kashmir, the official speaking to NDTV said the decision would be “taken in due course”.