IN WHAT appears to be a bid to give the Election Commission another option for holding the State Assembly elections between the second half of April 2007 and May 14, 2007, the high school and intermediate examinations have been advanced.
Senior government officers remained tightlipped about the factors for advancing exams giving rise to speculation that the decision was taken at the behest of the Election Commission.
Chief Election Officer Anuj Vishnoi, however, asserted that the EC had not given any directives to the government for advancing the examinations.
Much significance is, however, being attached to the decision to advance the examinations. This decision came after Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s meeting with Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy, recently. The CM had requested the EC to hold the poll between February and March 2007. As holding the poll during this period would need additional Central Para Military Forces (CPMF) in view of Ardh Kumbh mela, the EC is also weighing options for holding the Vidhan Sabha in February and March 2007.
This is the second major move after meeting between the CM and the CEC. The State Government had earlier decided to table Vote On Account for the first four months of the financial year 2007-2008. The Vote On Account would be tabled and passed in the House on Friday. Now, preparations are in full swing for the revision of electoral rolls that have to be published by January 3, 2007.
The EC will study all the aspects before announcing schedule for election to the assemblies of Uttaranchal, Punjab, Manipur and UP. That the preparations for the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections are in full swing is also reflected in the appointment of Mrityunjya Kumar Narain as Additional CEO. A 1995 batch IAS officer Mrityunjaya would shoulder additional responsibility of conducting the Vidhan Sabha polls with CEO Anuj Vishnoi.
Meanwhile, two Election Commissioners are reviewing the progress of revision of electoral rolls at the divisional level. They would begin their visits to UP from December 16, 2006. EC Dr SY Quereshi would arrive here on Sunday and proceed to Allahabad to review the preparation of electoral rolls of the Allahabad and Chitrakoot divisions. Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla would also undertake a visit to Bareilly on Monday to review the progress of preparation of electoral rolls in the Bareilly division.
Significantly, the EC proposes to discuss on Friday the reports of observers that the EC had sent to UP to review preparations of the electoral rolls. All the 21 EC observers have submitted their report to the EC. A senior officer of the EC said that the observers had expressed satisfaction over the preparation of electoral rolls. There may, however, be some problem areas. Asked to comment, Chief Election Officer Anuj Vishnoi, however, said there was no problem with the progress of revision of electoral rolls front and the final rolls would be published by January 3, 2007.