Lok Sabha polls on time: CEC

Lok Sabha polls on time: CEC
Highlights

Chief Election Commissioner CEC Sunil Arora on Friday said the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan will have no bearing on the upcoming general elections in AprilMay this year Arora was responding to a query on whether the polls could be postponed in the wake of the situation post the February 14 Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent Indian Air Force

Lucknow: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Friday said the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan will have no bearing on the upcoming general elections in April-May this year. Arora was responding to a query on whether the polls could be postponed in the wake of the situation post the February 14 Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on terror camps across the border.

The top poll panel official said: "Elections will be held on time." When asked about the possible notification of the Lok Sabha poll dates, Arora said the media and the country would come to know of it through the "usual press conference", as is the norm. In the state capital to assess the preparedness of Uttar Pradesh -- a state which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, Arora said that the poll panel is committed to holding a "free, fair, peaceful and transparent polls" and that all steps are being taken to ensure this.

"The Election Commission (EC) has a detailed action plan to address issues put to it," the CEC said while referring to the various suggestions, problems and issues shared with it during the meetings with state bureaucrats, police officials and representatives of political parties. He also trashed the often asked question on the fairness of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

"They are fool-proof, as has been proved many times in the past," he added. Arora said that "unfortunately, EVMs have booms like footballs, where everyone is playing to his own". EVMs, he added, had been used in various elections, in which one or the other party won. "When the election outcome is not in favour of some, they start raising objections and questions," he said, adding that the poll panel has gone into the issue and found nothing wrong with the machines.

He also announced that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will also be used in the 1,63,331 polling stations of the state during the Lok Sabha elections. A campaign to make people aware of this mechanism will also be rolled out in Uttar Pradesh and other states to ensure that they have complete understanding, the CEC said. On being asked about the reaction of the political parties in the state to their reassurances about the credibility of EVMs, the CEC said: "We have made ourselves clear to the best of our ability and hope the message is clear."

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