Friday, Oct 10, 2003
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By K. Balchand
At the same time, Mr. Lyngdoh said the Commission was always prepared to hold elections and that it was bound to hold them within six months of the dissolution of the House, if at all such a possibility occurred.
The next Lok Sabha elections would be conducted through electronic voting machines across the country, but did not say anything on the issue of photo-identity cards to all the voters by then. Issuance of the cards to all the voters in Jammu and Kashmir was a special case.
As for the coming Assembly elections, the schedule for which has been announced, he said the challenge was not the same type as they had faced in Gujarat or as demanding as in Jammu and Kashmir.
There was nothing that the Commission could do if anything that happened in Gujarat were to be repeated in these States. "The law is old fashioned to tackle such things. "When we said `do not write religious slogans on the wall,' they came up with slogans on their T-shirts," he said.
Mr. Lyngdoh advocated that the Election Commission be empowered under Cr.PC. so that anticipatory action could be taken against suspected trouble-makers.
He came down heavily on defections and called for immediate legislation to ban them and vest the President with the powers to take a decision on the advice of the Commission. The Speakers should not be allowed to sit in judgment, he added.
Asked about the accusation of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Ajit Jogi, that the CBI was hounding him in the wake of the announcement of elections, Mr. Lyngdoh said it was a purely criminal matter and "we have nothing to do with it."
Foundation for hospital
To a question, Mr. Lyngdoh said he had directed the Bihar Government to cancel the programme to lay the foundation for a branch of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, in Phulwarisharif, in the wake of the moral code of conduct having come into force. Phulwarisharif happens to be in Patna district as also the Fatuha Assembly constituency where the byelection will be held on November 20. The Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, is scheduled attend it.
As for the BJP's allegations on electoral rolls and electoral booths, he said he would look into them.
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