Facing the heat over delay in announcement of dates for Assembly elections in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram, the Election Commission on Saturday dismissed allegations of any connection with a rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Referring to allegations that the announcement of poll dates was not done at 12.30 pm on Saturday, as scheduled earlier, the Chief Election Commissioner said, “Politicians and political parties are political creatures and they have to see politics in everything because of their inherent nature. We have no comments to make on them.”
Explaining the reasons that caused the delay in announcement, CEC Rawat said that one of the reasons was concerning publication of electoral rolls in one of the states. He said that after the timing for the press conference was announced, the commission was informed that publication of electoral rolls in the state, which was earlier slated to be completed by October 8, would take more time.
He further cited a case in a High Court over electoral rolls. “There is a case pending with Hon'ble High Court about electoral roll. The High Court had ordered that the electoral roll must be first showed to them on October 8, Monday. Only then it should be finally published,” he said.
Rawat also said that on Saturday morning, he was informed about some severe weather forecast in a state where byelections were slated to be held. The CEC said that the Chief Secretary of the state told him the byelections dates should not be announced and that the commission should wait for situations like cyclone etc to be over.
The Chief Election Commission also made reference to an election petition submitted by a candidate who had died. He said that while the commission thought that the petition had expired with his demise, such was not the case.
Following the explanation over the delay, CEC Rawat announced the dates for Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.
The elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases on November 12 and 20. The other four states will go to polls in a single phase. Voting in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will be held on 28 November while voting in Rajasthan and Telangana will be held on December 7. The counting of votes will be held on December 11.