Likely Announcement of 6-Phase Polls in UP starting Feb 2017 leaves Political Players Nervous

After DEC Vijay Deo Reviewed Poll Preps in UP, Early Polls Increases Trepidation amongsome Political Players

Deputy Election Commission, Vijay Deo’s survey of poll preparations in India’s most populous state, in the third week of December, as reported by PTI signals, in all likelihood, that elections will shortly be declared—over six phases—starting early-mid February 2017.

For different reasons, the Samajwadi Party (SP) that controls India’s most populous and politically significant state, Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules the Centre, have been trying behind the scene efforts to get the elections to the state postponed beyond March 2015.

The former is yet to set its house in order with the power struggle between the old guard and new, and the saffron party, despite its posted-monetization bluster, is dreading the political fallout after the ground level fallouts of de-monetization. On December 22, prime minister Narendra Modi opted for a closed door meeting in Varanasi, his constituency, where despite his mockingbird tactics against Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, speculation on the streets remains as to why he did not go in for a flamboyant public show!

In late November, the state government had tried, unsuccessfully to seal the issue by declaring examinations between February 10 and March 15,2017.  The EC had thereafter (mid December) summoned the state education secretary to New Delhi after this hastily declared notification, raising speculation about the fact that the ploy to get the state elections postponed may not work.

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur and Goa are slated to go to elections and the EC needs to consider on the one hand the feasibility of simultaneous troop deployment and security in various states on the one hand and the fact that holding them one after the other would risk the poll outcomes in one state influencing another.

On a tour of the state and in the capital city of Lucknow, until December 22, Deputy Election Commissioner Vijay Deo has said voters of the Indian Defence services "for the first time" would be allowed to use e-postal ballots, after he reviewed the preparations in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Reported PTI," For the first time, voters of the Indian Defence services would be allowed to use e-postal ballots and all police stations have been made the centre points of any criminal act during the election period and SHOs would be held responsible for it," he told reporters here after meeting state officials.

"The Election Model Code of Conduct would be strictly enforced in the state within 24 hours of the announcement of poll dates and the Commission would not allow any kind of relaxation in it," he said.

Directives have also been issued to make necessary preparations for the disabled at the polling booths, he said. Deo, who has held similar meetings in Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur, said he has been apprised of booths having Assured Minimum Facility, including toilets, drinking water and electricity.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Election Commission, said all political parties shall have to submit three copies of their election manifesto within three days of their release to the Chief Electoral Officer of the state.



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