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K'taka poll dance: Which way would EC swing?


Priyanjana Dutta,CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2008 at 12:31pm IST

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Bangalore: Will he, won't he? All eyes in Karnataka are on the Chief Election Commissioner and his team as they arrive in Bangalore to review preparations of electoral rolls and redrawing of constituencies.

The buzz in political circles, and one that's suddenly got all politicians into a huddle, is the strong rumour that the Commission is preparing to conduct elections to the Karnataka Assembly by the May 28 - the date President's rule in Karnataka expires.

The Congress is especially worried. With redrawn boundaries and some leaders losing their constituencies, the task seems tougher. Insecurities within the party are manifesting itself in asking the commission to delay the elections.

Says President, KPCC, Mallikarjuna Kharge, "We are not asking for postponement of elections. We are asking to eliminate bogus voters, only genuine voters should be included. When 60 lakh bogus voters are there and election commission member themselves have claimed, these anomalies have to be set right."

A turbulent 40-month coalition notwithstanding, the BJP and JD(S), on the other hand, are routing for early elections. The BJP hopes to capitalize on the sympathy factor, having been duped by the wily father-son duo. And for that to happen, early elections are crucial.

Says BJP leader, B S Yediyurappa, "Rule 24 of the registration of electoral rolls and the Supreme Court decision of 2002 categorically states that the EC should use all its resources to hold elections in time. In Karnataka preparation of voters list as per delimitation is almost ready. I urge the EC to take a firm decision."

JD(S) only seems too eager. Says party spokesperson, YSV Datta, "We are all along saying that elections should be contested before May 28th. Presidents rule should come to an end and a popular government should come into existence."

As a pilot experiment, the delimitation exercise in Mandya district was completed in three days. That's what made the EC confident that the rest of the state could also finish redrawing the constituencies in time.

That being the case, it looks certain that elections to the state assembly will be held before the end of President’s rule.

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