EC may not hold Guj, HP count­ing to­gether

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Bharti.Jain@ times­

New Delhi: The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion may not hold count­ing for Hi­machal Pradesh and Gu­jarat si­mul­ta­ne­ously on De­cem­ber 18, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior EC func­tionary.

“Re­sults for Gu­jarat and Hi­machal Pradesh as­sem­bly polls need not and may not be de­clared the same day. The idea is to only fin­ish polling in Gu­jarat be­fore De­cem­ber 18 so that Hi­machal re­sults do not af­fect the way Gu­jarat votes. This means polling in Gu­jarat can be held right un­til De­cem­ber 17.

“Given that there must be a 46-day gap be­tween an­nounce­ment of poll and ac­tual polling, the an­nounce­ment of Gu­jarat as­sem­bly poll dates can wait till Novem­ber 2,” the poll panel func­tionary told TOI.

Ac­cord­ing to the func­tionary, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, the Com­mis­sion had, dur­ing its two-day visit to Gu­jarat on Oc­to­ber 9 and 10 to as­sess poll pre­pared­ness, re­ceived feed­back that flood re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion works in the af­fected parts of the state were at a cru­cial stage. “We were of the view that start­ing the poll process at this junc­ture would slow down re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as the au­thor­i­ties would then be fo­cused on elec­tions. Since there is no ur­gency to de­clare the Gu­jarat elec­tions as polling needs to be com­pleted only by De­cem­ber 18, we tech­ni­cally have time till Novem­ber 2 to make the an­nounce­ment. The EC feels a lot of ground will be cov­ered un­til then to re­ha­bil­i­tate the flood-af­fected peo­ple,” he said, ex­plain­ing the ra­tio­nale be­hind an­nounc­ing sched­ule for Hi­machal Pradesh and Gu­jarat polls sep­a­rately.

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