Postpone polls, urge Tamil Nadu parties

Various political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the ruling DMK, Wednesday objected to the assembly election schedule announced by the Election Commission (EC) and sought its postponement.

Chennai: Various political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the ruling DMK, Wednesday objected to the assembly election schedule announced by the Election Commission (EC) and sought its postponement.

The parties opposed the present poll schedule citing short time for campaigning, school examinations, festivals and the one-month gap between voting and counting.

The EC Tuesday fixed April 13 for the single-phase poll in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and May 13 for counting of votes.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, in his letter to party cadres, wondered about the reason for the long gap between the polling date and counting.

Stating that his government was not consulted on the poll schedule, Karunanidhi said the term of the current assembly ends May 16 thereby leaving just three days for government formation.

G Ramakrishnan, state secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), said: "The chief election commissioner earlier announced that the poll date will be fixed taking into account school exams and the festivals. It seems he did not take these aspects into consideration."

He said in a statement here that the campaigning will distract around 900,000 students preparing for their Class 10 final examinations.
The Class 10 state board exams are to begin March 28 and end April 11.

Bharatiya Janata Party`s state chief Pon Radhakrishnan told IANS: "World over Tamilians celebrate Tamil New Year April 14 and people will be busy preparing for the festival at least a week in advance. April 13 is not an apt date for the polls."

According to him, the one-month gap between voting and counting was unwarranted.

He said that it would be ideal if the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry elections were held along with polls in West Bengal, where six-phased voting is to be held between April 18 and May 10.

At a time when political parties were still apprehensive about electronic voting machines and their tamper-proof qualities, the one-month gap between voting and declaration of results was not a right decision, he added.

The election schedule, however, appeared alright to DMDK chief Vijayakant who, while pointing out that "13" is the number for evil spirits, hoped the number (April 13) would be helpful in removing the evil spirits of corruption and inflation in Tamil Nadu.

IANS

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