(G.N.S) Dt. 10
Setting the stage for assembly elections in Karnataka, the Election Commission (EC) is expected to announce polling dates in the second week of March.
The model code of conduct will come into force once the commission releases the schedule, sources who attended a meeting with a team of EC officials on Tuesday said. With the EC mindful of SSLC and PU examinations, election dates are likely to be between April 25 and May 5, sources said. Amid soaring political temperatures in Karnataka, a three-member EC team held a marathon meeting with local election authorities and state government officials headed by Karnataka chief secretary K Ratna Prabha to review preparedness for the elections. Karnataka DG&IGP Neelamani N Raju was also present. The meetings will continued.
A senior official representing the state told the Election Commission team that they expect to complete the necessary work, including revision of electoral rolls, in February and the EC can announce the schedule in March. As in the past, the poll panel is considering the possibility of holding a single-phase election this time too, if political parties approve. The commission is expected to meet representatives of political parties on Wednesday or Thursday, as reported to media.
In 2013, major political parties had sent in representations requesting a singlephase election. They had claimed it will help reduce election malpractices, including flow of cash and liquor. Polling in the 224 assembly constituencies in the state has always been in two phases, except in 2008, when elections were held in three phases for the first time. The commission has decided to use VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) machines in the forthcoming polls.
(G.N.S) Dt. 10