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Poll dates: All eyes on announcement


New Delhi/ Kolkata, Time, proper utilisation of what helped excel human development in all aspects across the globe in the past, is facing a 'query' now in the context of Indian Parliamentary practice. Notwithstanding the assertion of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora that the Lok Sabha elections would be held 'on time,' the poll schedule is yet to be announced and the Opposition, including the Congress, has started questioning the 'delay.' The accusation of 'delay' in announcement of polls stems from the fact that the 2014 Parliamentary elections were announced this day (March 5). Informatively, the CEC had maintained in Lucknow on March 2, amid the escalation in tension between India and Pakistan, that the Lok Sabha elections would be held 'as scheduled.' "The Commission is fully prepared and has adequate security forces for ensuring security during the elections in the next couple of months," Mr Arora had observed on Friday last.He also said that the election notification would be issued soon and the poll schedule put up. The CEC also stated that the candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections must provide details of the earnings of their entire family for the last five years, apart from enumerating their assets in the country and abroad, if any. Mr Arora also further said that this information would be given to the Income Tax Department for verification and the candidates would be liable for penal action for false information. He also asserted that the Commission would not return from EVMs to ballot papers. As the poll schedule was not declared even after three days of the CEC's observation, the Congress asked the EC on Monday if it was being done ' to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi milk the public exchequer to the maximum for poll campaign.' 'Is the EC waiting for the PM's 'official' travel programmes to conclude before announcing the dates for General Elections,' senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel commented in the National Capital. 'It seems that the EC is allowing the government a long rope to campaign till the last moment using public money,' Mr Patel said. Mr Patel's remarks came against the backdrop of Mr Modi addressing multiple rallies across states, during which he has been targeting the Opposition. Meanwhile, reports said the Election Commission, led by the CEC, is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review poll preparedness in view of the Lok Sabha elections. The poll panel has been conducting extensive consultation with political leaders, respective state election authorities and state governments across the country for about a month and is likely to announce poll dates for parliamentary elections 'sooner than later.' Asked to comment on the 'delay' on the part of the EC to announce the poll schedule, Mr Atanu Basu, lecturer of Political Science, residing in the C R Park area of Delhi, said, 'The overall climate on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections is already 'vitiated' by the Pulwama attack by Pakistan backed terrorists, the subsequent air strikes by Indian Air Force on terror camps in the neighbouring country and the 'claims and questions' relating to the 'authenticity' of the later. We do not want more cloud anymore in respect of our democratic practice. Poll dates for the Lok Sabha elections should be immediately announced.' Mr Basu's 'view' was echoed in the observation of poet-turned social activist Ms Nilima Sen, also professor of Economics, in Kolkata. 'We all are waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls schedule by the Election Commission in line with its Constitutional 'duties and responsibilities.' Every single moment matters to us now.'

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