General elections to be held in April-May, says EC

The next general elections in India will take place in April-May, 2009, S Y Quraishi, Election Commissioner of India said in London.

“We, in the Election Commission, have not yet discussed the final dates, but it will be held between April 8 and May 15,” Quraishi said after delivering a lecture on ‘J and K Elections 2008’, at the India House on Tuesday evening.

The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Shiv Shanker Mukherjee, was present on the occasion.

Narrating the problems faced by the Election Commission in holding the seven-phase elections for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Quraishi said the 61.5 per cent turnout despite adverse weather conditions justified their decision to go ahead with the poll, which was fair and transparent.

“The Indian Election Commission has the highest credibility,” he asserted.

General election in India is the largest electoral exercise in the world involving 671 million voters.

Noting that India is the only country in the world to introduce the Electronic Voting Machines at such a large scale, he said the system has ensured that the “secrecy of vote is not compromised.”

Answering a question, he said the State Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir were not linked to the Kashmir problem. “It (the dispute) should be resolved through negotiations,” he said.

Quraishi said, “Our experience is that while the party in power is almost invariably unhappy with us, the opposition parties love us. But once the opposition party becomes the ruling party the roles get reversed.”

He said both the ruling and the opposition parties realise, especially when they are no longer in power, how much they stand to benefit from EC’s interventions.



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