Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Postpone polls, urge Tamil Nadu parties

Chennai, March 2 : Various political parties in Tamil NaduWednesday urged the election commission to postpone the April 13 assembly polls citing final school examinations, state festivals and the one-month wait for counting of votes as reasons for doing so.

The commission Tuesday set April 13 for the single-phase poll in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and May 13 for counting of votes.

G. Ramakrishnan, state secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said: "The chief election commissioner had earlier announced that the poll date will be fixed taking into account school exams and the festivals coming up later. It seems he did not take these aspects into consideration."

He said in a statement here that the campaigning will distract around 900,000 students preparing for their class 10 final examinations.

The class 10 state board exams are to begin March 28 and end April 11.

Bharatiya Janata Party's state chief Pon Radhakrishnan told IANS: "World over Tamilians celebrate Tamil New Year April 14 and people will be busy preparing for the festival at least a week before. April 13 is not an apt date for the polls."

According to him, the one-month long wait for counting of votes is also unwarranted.

He said that it would be ideal if the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry elections are held along with polls in West Bengal, where six-phased ballotting is to be held between April 18 and May 10.

At a time when political parties are still apprehensive about electronic voting machines and their tamper-proof qualities, the one-month wait for counting is not a right decision, he added.

The date, however, appeared to find favour with DMDK chief Vijayakant who, while pointing out that "13" is the number for evil spirits, hoped the number (April 13) would be helpful in removing the evil spirits of corruption and inflation in Tamil Nadu.

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