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EC team meets members of political parties in Bihar

Friday 27 May 2005

Patna, May. 27 (PTI): A two-member Election Commission team, here to review poll preparedness in the State, today met members of various political parties and was urged by the NDA to hold a one-day poll in Bihar by mid-July even as the RJD said it was "ever-ready" for elections.

An EC team comprising Deputy Election Commissioner Anand Kumar, and Legal Advisor S K Mahendiratta, arrived here to elicit views of political parties on poll dates and assess the situation for smooth conduct of elections in the State.

The team’s members met leaders of various political parties, including the BJP, JD-U, RJD, Congress, BSP, LJP and CPI-M, at the State election office here.

Seeking an early election, representatives of the BJP and JD(U) which had dubbed the dissolution of the House as "a dictatorial and unconstitutional step", met the poll panel separately and called for a one-day poll preferably by the second or third week of July.

Stressing the need for static deployment of para-military forces at all polling stations 24 hours before voting, under the supervision of the EC observers, the NDA said the Commission should also ensure that no booth had more than 1,000 voters.

The BJP delegation comprised State party President Gopal Narayan Singh, senior party leaders Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha and Giriraj Singh, while the JD-U team was led by its State President Vijendra Yadav.

Mahendiratta told reporters that the EC team will hold talks with the State Chief Secretary, police chief and other senior Government officers till Sunday and submit its report to the Election Commission on Monday.

The NDA leaders also demanded that "tainted" IAS, IPS and Bihar Administrative Service officers, including sub-divisional officers, Deputy Superintendents of Police and Deputy Collectors be removed from election-related work.

Besides, they demanded that the transfer of officials either be stayed till the elections or be done after getting approval from the Commission.

State RJD President Abdul Bari Siddiqui, and General Secretary Rambachan Rai, told PTI that the party was "always ready" for elections and demanded that the Commission maintain "uniformity" in withholding the counting of votes in booths where 90 per cent or more votes were cast.

"We have bitter experience in the past when the counting of votes was withheld or repoll was ordered in booths which recorded 90 per cent or more polling", Siddiqui said.

He said the RJD also pressed for ensuring photo identity cards to all voters and in the event of their not being issued, other valid documents to prove identity be made available to the voters.

He said the Commission should also ensure that each booth should have not more than 500 voters as a large number of people were deprived of their voting right due to "slow" functioning of Electronic Voting Machines.

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