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Parties fear rigging

CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav?s willingness to hold the Vidhan Sabha election in February has kicked up a debate in political circles about possible dates of polling in the State. In fact, the major political parties are more concerned about the security arrangements and free and fair election than poll dates.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 01:49 IST

UP Assembly poll

CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav’s willingness to hold the Vidhan Sabha election in February has kicked up a debate in political circles about possible dates of polling in the State. In fact, the major political parties are more concerned about the security arrangements and free and fair election than poll dates.

The State BJP decided to send an application to the Election Commission of India (EC), requesting it to keep in mind the UP Board examinations and the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prayag at the time of fixing poll dates. The Congress, which is not bothered about the poll dates, is, however, fearing booth-capturing, rigging and violence. The party wants that the assembly elections should be held only when adequate central forces were available to ensure free and fair election.

However, the BSP is neither bothered about the security arrangements nor poll dates. It is ready to go to polls any time.

The Ardh Kumbh Mela, which will start from January 3 at Prayag in Allahabad, will end on February 16. The High School and Intermediate examinations will start from March 16 and continue till April 27. Besides, Holi will be celebrated during this period. Thus, the assembly election may be held any time between February 3 and March 16. If the election was held during this period, the dates will not clash either with the Ardh Kumbh Mela or the UP Board examinations.  Talking to HT, state BJP president Keshri Nath Tripathi said if the election was held during the Ardh Kumbh or the Board exams, the voting percentage would be low.

Fearing large-scale booth capturing, rigging and misuse of the Government machinery in the Vidhan Sabha election, Tripathi said the EC must take all possible steps for free and fair election which seemed impossible under the Mulayam-led government.   He said the EC must not repeat the mistake of the State Election Commission that held the civic poll during the festival season.

This was one of the reasons for low polling percentage in certain areas during the civic poll. The BJP would send a representation to the EC in this regard, he added.

Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari told HT that he was not bothered about dates. He was bothered about adequate security arrangements as the Samajwadi Party would resort to all possible tactics to win the election.

BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya said his party had already completed preparations for the election.“We are neither bothered for the Board examinations nor for the Kumbh Mela,” he said. He also said that free and fair Vidhan Sabha election was a dream under the SP rule.