EC I-cards must for Assembly polls?

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 03 April 2002 17:02 IST

If all goes well, photo identity cards issued by the Election Commission of India may be made compulsory for the Goa Assembly polls, scheduled to be held here shortly, for the first time in the country.

During his two-day visit to the tourist state on the eve of elections, chief election commissioner B B Tandon has instructed the officials to intensify the campaign for total coverage of electorate.

Addressing the media along with deputy election commissioner Satyon Chatterjee, he informed that Goa has already supplied photo I-cards to around 56 per cent of the electorate so far. By setting up taluka-wise centres and mobile centres, he plans to cover the total electorate before announcing date of elections.

"We will however see that no voter is denied right to vote due to any lapse on our part", clarifies Tandon. The CEC thus plans to decide only after assessing outcome of the total coverage whether to allow to use other authorised photo I-cards or also non-photo identity like the ration card.

Goa is the first state, which has already experimented compulsion of identity card (including ration card) successfully during Zilla Panchayat elections in February 2000, thanks to the initiative taken by state election commissioner Prabhakar Timble. The trend then followed till panchayat polls held in January this year.

Being a tiny state with hardly 40 constituencies, the CEC had also successfully held last Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls in 1999, fully with electronic voting machines, for the first time in the country.

Though the election date is yet to be finalised, Tandon is clear that the tenth Assembly has to be constituted before 17 July, when it completes 180 days from the last sitting of the now-dissolved ninth Assembly.

While several parties have urged the CEC to hold elections by May end as monsoons arrive here by first week of June and schools also reopen during the same time, Tandon assured that the date would be finalised after taking into consideration weather condition and reopening of the schools.

He is also keen on constituting all the state Assemblies before the country elects new President of India, whose term expires on 24 July.

Tandon also appeared happy that up-to-date revision of the electoral roll will provide opportunity to every Goan youth voter, who has completed 18 years on 1 January this year. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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