Sikkim polls on, says EC

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Gangtok
Mar 09, 2005 03:07 PM IST

The EC has ruled out poll countermand in any of the assembly constituencies of Sikkim saying that rejection of nominations of some Cong candidates were all valid.

The Election Commission on Monday ruled out countermand of polls in any of the assembly constituencies of Sikkim saying that rejection of nominations of some Congress candidates were all valid.

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Talking to reporters at the end of his three-day visit to the state, Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishanmurthy said the question of countermanding polls in the three assembly constituencies did not arise as there were "substantive errors" in the nomination papers that were rejected.

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"The entire nomination process was video recorded and the papers were validly rejected," Krishnamurthy said.

The opposition Congress in Sikkim had urged the CEC on his arrival on Saturday, that the polls in four assembly seats in the state be countermanded as the rejection of the papers of three of its candidates had been "malafide and unjust" whereas its candidate from another seat had not filed his papers because of his "abduction" by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).

Regarding the alleged abduction of the Congress candidate from Kabi-Tingda, Palden Bhutia, the CEC said he received a letter from Bhutia on Monday morning which did not speak of any kidnapping.

In the letter to the CEC Bhutia said that he could not file his paper on the last day of nominations in the state due to last minute confusion as to the required number of proposers.

When asked to comment on the burning of the effigy of the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at a public meeting recently, the CEC said it was unfortunate that despite the commission's repeated reminders there were still political parties and individuals indulging in personal attacks and violating the model code of conduct.

"My appeal to them is that they should retrain and discipline themselves," Krishnamurthy said.

The CEC said during his three-day stay he held meetings with political parties, returning officers, other poll-related officials and the police and was satisfied with the poll preparations.

He said Central para-military forces will be deployed around polling stations to instil confidence among voters.

On complaints against poll officials being politically biased, he said the Chief Electoral Officer had been directed to look into it and keep such poll officials out of the electoral process by not assigning to them any specific duties.

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