EC teams to visit poll-bound Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry after January 26: CEC Sunil Arora

NEW DELHI: Election Commission teams would visit Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry after Republic Day to take stock of poll preparations as the three assemblies enter the final leg of their respective terms, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said on Monday.

He said the poll panel is preparing to conduct elections in four states — West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and the Union Territory of Puducherry in the near future.

“The Commission also spent four days in Assam and West Bengal…After January 26, we shall be going to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry,” Arora said in his address to the 11th National Voters’ Day event here.

The terms of the legislative assemblies of the four states and Puducherry are ending on different dates in May and June, and polls are expected to take place in April-May.

The Commission — the CEC and fellow Election Commissioners — usually take stock of poll preparedness before announcing schedules of elections.

But it visited Bihar after announcing poll dates.

Arora also reiterated the Commission’s determination to conduct safe and secure elections, which has been lauded by democracies across the world.

Arora also mentioned how tireless efforts of the election machinery ensured that the facility of postal ballot was extended to persons with disabilities, senior citizens above the age of 80 years, and those quarantined due to COVID-19.

As the Commission prepares for the polls in 2021, the CEC emphasised the importance of the commitment towards redefining election management in a pandemic.

In his remarks, Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said the 11th NVD is being celebrated with a view to enhance electoral participation, especially of new voters of the country and empower them as informed, ethical and vigilant voters.

He said elections in India are gigantic exercise conducted under superintendence, direction and control of the Commission.

The exercise has its own challenges in terms of sheer scale, size, diversity and complexity besides logistics, aiming for free, fair and transparent elections.

“Timelines demand strict compliance with little room for any delays and mistakes.¬†That is what makes our elections sacrosanct and model for others,” he said.

Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar highlighted the scale and vastness of Indian elections.

He said that despite the complexity of Indian elections, they are conducted meticulously and on schedule.