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Election Commission to send team to Telangana as CM starts rallies

A team of senior poll officials will visit Hyderabad on Tuesday to assess the situation in Telangana regarding poll preparedness

india Updated: Sep 07, 2018 23:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
election commission,telangana
Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat(L) with Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa (R) during a meeting with National & State recognised political parties to discuss issues related to electoral process.(Hindustan Times)

The chief election commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat criticised on Friday chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for speaking about the possible dates for assembly elections in Telangana even as the panel announced it would next week send a team to the state where the assembly was dissolved prematurely.

Rao, known popularly as KCR, said early elections will now need to be held while announcing on Thursday his decision to dissolve the assembly – comments that CEC Rawat called “preposterous” while speaking to news channel NDTV.

Later, while speaking to Hindustan Times, Rao said: “Anybody other than the EC making any statements about the poll schedule is wrong and totally unacceptable”.

A team of election commission (EC) officials will travel to Hyderabad September 11 to assess poll preparedness in the state, according to a statement issued separately by the commission which held a meeting on Friday. The team, led by senior deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha, will carry out a review on the ground.

Rao’s government, the first since the state was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, enjoyed a majority in a House that was supposed to be in term till at least May 2019. Addressing the media after dissolving the assembly, the TRS chief said he was confident that polls in Telangana will be held along with those in four other states by year-end.

“As far as I know, the poll process may begin in October and get completed in November. The results may be announced in the first week of December,” he said.

EC officials, who asked not to be named, said the caretaker chief minister had not met any poll official to discuss the possible schedule. “The commission does not give its opinion based on hypothetical situations,” one of them said.

According to Rawat, the timing will be decided by the poll panel and announced in “due course”. “Whenever House is dissolved prematurely, as per Supreme Court guidelines laid down in 2002, the EC is required to initiate immediate steps for holding elections at the first occasion and in any case within 6 months from date of premature dissolution,” he said.

On Friday, Rao kicked off his campaign to seek a fresh mandate.

Addressing a huge rally at Husnabad in Siddipet district, the TRS president urged people to “not be subservient to Delhi rulers but to vote for the self-rule”. He, however, spared the Bharatiya Janata Party, while particularly targeting the Congress party during his 30-minute speech.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 18:11 IST