EC will finish tasks on time: Lyngdoh
DH News Service
The Election Commission under the leadership of new Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh will have its first major task of readjustment of reserved seats for assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and delimitation of constituencies in Uttaranchal and EC has accorded top priority to it.
The total seats in UP assembly has been reduced from 425 to 403 after the formation of Uttaranchal while the new State is to have a total of 70 seats from the present 22 and both States are likely to go to polls in March, next year.
There, however, is uncertainty attached to it. While the EC prefers elections to be held after the date on which five years gets completed on the basis of first sitting of the House, a petition has been filed in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court contending that the term of the House should be counted from the date of notification of the constitution of the House, which falls in October, instead of its first sitting.
Addressing his first press conference as CEC a day after he took over, Mr Lyngdoh made the EC position clear stating that the commission was of the view that the five year tenure ends on March 26, 2002 on the basis of the first sitting of the House as per Article 171 of the Constitution.
On the issue of readjustment of reserved seats in UP and delimitation of seats in Uttaranchal, the CEC stated that the panel will slog it out to meet the deadline. The new CEC, who visited Dehradun recently to oversee the redrawing of seats, said the present 22 constituencies would have to be converted into 70 seats in the new state by changing the boundaries.
Making it clear that EC will have to do the redrawing of seats on a fast pace because of uncertainty involved in calling for elections, Mr Lyngdoh, referring to a question on similar exercise in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar said these states can wait as there were no elections round the corner there.
Referring to providing identity cards, Mr Lyngdoh said EC has taken it as a priority to issue of I-cards to voters in UP and Punjab where elections due next year. While 70 per cent of Punjab's electorate has been covered by I cards, only about 50 per cent could be covered in UP.
On whether the EC has received any request from Jammu and Kashmir government on holding elections as term of assembly expires in October 2002, Mr Lyngdoh replied in the negative. "The assembly in J and K will have to be dissolved first,” he said.
Asked if the Commission favoured an amendment to Section 8 of the Representation of People Act to prevent criminalisation of politics, he said "this part of the legal scheme of things that the people of India wanted and the EC is solidly behind them.”