EC team to assess election preparedness in Telangana
EC team to visit Hyderabad on Tuesday to check logistical readiness for holding polls
New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has decided to send a team of officials to Telangana to assess the logistical preparedness of holding elections, keeping in view the possibility of early Assembly elections in the state.
A final call is likely to be taken early next week.
However, senior Election Commission officials said that the election watchdog was weighing the option of holding Telangana elections along with state polls slated for later this year.
“In view of the dissolution of the state legislative Assembly of Telangana, the commission has decided to send a team of Election Commission officers to assess the situation in the state regarding poll preparedness,” the Election Commission said after a top-level meeting in the national capital on Friday.
The team, headed by senior deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha, will visit Hyderabad on Tuesday and is expected to submit its report to the Election Commission soon after the completion of its visit.
Telangana state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar is expected to visit New Delhi on Monday to hold a key round of meeting with Election Commission officials, who are expected to be briefed about the ground situation in Telangana.
“The Election Commission will review the ground-level preparedness with chief electoral officer of Telangana and make up its mind about timing of elections for Telangana,” Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said on Friday.
“Whenever a House is dissolved prematurely, according to the Supreme Court’s guidelines laid down in 2002, the Election Commission is required to initiate immediate steps for holding elections for constituting the legislative assembly on the first occasion and in any case within six months from date of premature dissolution of the assembly,” he said.
Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Thursday decided to dissolve the assembly and call for early elections.
Rao, the founder and president of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), held a cabinet meeting in the morning on Thursday before meeting governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to inform him of the decision.
A notification was issued thereafter.
“Right now, we are looking at the electoral preparedness. We informed the EC immediately after the Governor’s communication about the Assembly being dissolved. The election has to happen within six months,” Kumar told Mint.
Rao had said on Thursday that he had met the EC earlier and the Assembly elections might be held in November. These comments on the probable timeline of the elections have kicked off a major political storm with the EC taking exception to it.
The Telangana unit of the Congress asked how Rao could announce the dates and alleged that his decision to dissolve the Assembly was planned well in advance.
“The EC felt that it was quite preposterous on the part of any political leader to have come out with the election schedule. That is totally unacceptable,” Rawat told news channel NDTV in an interview.
Yunus Lasania in Hyderabad contributed to the story.
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