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EC team arrives in Assam to review poll preparations, to visit Bengal on Wednesday

By IANS Updated: Jan 18, 2021 8:48 pm

Guwahati, Jan. 18 (IANS): Ahead of the declaration of Assembly polls in five states, an Election Commission (EC) team headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora arrived in Guwahati on Monday to review the preparations for the Assam Assembly elections.

The election officials said that from Guwahati, the EC panel would go to Kolkata on Wednesday to hold similar review meetings for the West Bengal Assembly elections. Assembly elections are expected to take place in Assan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in April-May.

Arora, along with election commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar and accompanied by senior officials, arrived in Guwahati on Monday evening.

A senior Assam election official said that the full EC team during its three-day stay in Guwahati would hold a series of meetings with the political parties, police nodal officers, election related regulatory agencies, district election and police officers, state home secretary and other senior officials.

The EC team would also hold meetings with Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah, Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, and Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade.

A six-member team of the Election Commission led by Director General Dharmendra Sharma had held several meetings with senior Assam government officials last week to review the preparedness for the Assembly polls.

“Sharma had asked the officials to take specific steps, including training and selection of different categories of officials, identification and categorisation of polling stations for the smooth conduct of the elections,” the official said.

The five-year term of the 126-member Assam Assembly would expire on May 31.

According the official, the EC team would go to Kolkata on Wednesday and during its three-day stay there, it would hold several meetings with the political parties and senior officials, including Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Home Secretary H.K. Dwivedi and Director General of Police (DGP) Virendra.

Last week, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain had reviewed the preparations for holding Assembly elections in West Bengal. He had reportedly voiced concerns over the law and order situation in the state.

West Bengal has witnessed political turmoil and frequent clashes between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the past couple of years. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar too has made adverse comments on the law and order situation on numerous occasions.

The state and the central authorities have also engaged in bitter tussles after BJP President J.P. Nadda’s convoy was attacked last month, allegedly by the supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress, in South 24 Parganas district when the saffron party chief was heading to attend a rally.

By IANS Updated: Jan 18, 2021 8:48:51 pm