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EC working on poll dates for five states

delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2011 21:12 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The first five months of 2012 would be busy for Election Commission as it is looking at holding elections in Punjab and Uttarakhand in mid-January and in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur in April-May.

Although the commission has not finalised the schedule for the elections, government officials do not rule out the probability of conducting the elections in one go in smaller states of Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.

But, elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh may be spread over more than one phase for better management of elections. Holding elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are more complex than in other states because of the large number of voters, an official explained.

Uttar Pradesh is expected to have 11.1 crore voters whereas Punjab would have 3.12 crore voters for 2012 elections. In other states the number of voters is relatively less. Uttarakhand would be about 55 lakh voters whereas Goa has 11 lakh voters.

The EC has, however, directed the poll bound state chief electoral officers (CEOs) to revise the electoral rolls and the new rolls are to be finalized by end of this December so that the election process can start from January.

Officials said the commission has already held several rounds of talks with the CEOs for holding free and fair elections in a peaceful atmosphere. The CEO have also been directed to hold voter awareness campaigns first for enrolment in the voters list and then for exercising franchise.

Our past experience has shown that awareness campaigns lead to increase in voting percentages, an official said, pointing out record voting in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal this year.

To check influence of money in polls, the CEOs have already been directed to monitor flow of money and advertisement in newspapers. The EC wants that the government to ban any advertisement in newspapers six months before the scheduled elections but its proposal is yet to be accepted by the government.

The year 2012 will also witness elections for the post of President and vice-president of India in June.