Tamil Nadu elections by April end or May first week

Election Commission (EC) will announce the dates for Assembly elections in five States, including Tamil Nadu, next week.

Chennai: The Election Commission (EC) will announce the dates for Assembly elections in five States, including Tamil Nadu, next week, as it wrapped up its three-month long consultation and preparation exercise for conducting the polls on Wednesday.

Highly-placed sources in EC told Deccan Chronicle that a meeting of the full Commission — Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners — will be held in New Delhi anytime after March 1 and the poll dates would be announced immediately thereafter.

The EC on Wednesday wrapped up its final consultation exercise with Chief Electoral Officers of all poll-bound States, including Tamil Nadu’s Rajesh Lakhoni, in New Delhi during which possible dates for the elections were discussed.

The sources said the dates for elections to the Assemblies of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry would be announced before March 6 as the EC plans to hold the first phase of polling to five Assemblies mid-April.

“The Election Commission is mandated to give a gap of at least 40 to 45 days from the date of announcement of polls to the polling date. So the dates would be out before March 6,” a senior official said.

The sources also said the Commission is planning to hold elections to Tamil Nadu Assembly either in the last week of April or first week of May, but maintained that a final decision on the poll date would be taken at the meeting of the full Commission.

They also said Tamil Nadu would go to polls on a single day, unlike West Bengal and Assam, which will have staggered polling, as all major political parties are strongly in favour of holding single-phase elections.

Tamil Nadu had gone to polls on single day in Assembly elections in the past few decades and the EC does not feel like reversing the trend.

“And since the state has not reported any major incidents of violence and does not face any threat from extremist elements, the EC is in favour of holding polls on a single day,” the source explained.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Lakhoni said Wednesday’s meeting was called to discuss the facilities needed to be made available for people with special needs and how information technology can be harnessed to conduct polls.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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