The Election Commission of India (EC) may accept the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s request to delay assembly polls in her state.
She is believed to have asked for the postponement, maintaining that campaigning will disrupt preparations of students for examinations due in March.
The commission has been indicating that it may club polls as early as in February-March to five states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, due in first half of 2012. Chief election commissioner SY Qureshi’s broad hints last August that the commission takes view of clubbing polls together when four to five states are due for elections has been keeping political parties on their heels.
After completing election process in these state, the EC has to also conduct the polls for the post of the president and the vice-president.
Therefore delay in the UP elections means that country would be in poll mode almost half of 2012.
Though, Mayawati has taken refuge behind school examinations, sources said, she was buying time to unleash poll announcements and to counter Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s high-voltage campaign. The Congress has already announced candidates for nearly two-third seats. The BJP is also in an overdrive in Uttar Pradesh, busy with two Yatras as part of the advance poll campaign.
Mayawati and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal have increased the pace of inaugurations and announcements of various schemes before the poll code of conduct comes into force to improve chances of their Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Akali Dal respectively.
Sources said the Election Commission was still undecided and will hold further round of consultations with the state governments in the poll-bound states as also with the home ministry.
These consultations are expected to be completed by December. The commission has already visited the states and found itself satisfied with the arrangements for the elections, they said.
The Representation of Peoples Act empowers the EC to hold elections six months prior to completion of the term of a House and in case of Uttar Pradesh it could be any day after November 20 as its Assembly term is up to May 20. Therefore, in case of delay UP polls may be clubbed with Goa, where the term of Assembly expires on June 14.
Uttarakhand (Assembly term expires on March 12), Punjab (March 14) and Manipur (March 15) would be clubbed to conduct polls in early February-March.
“We do not have any official request from the Goa government for any early polls and hence it will be easy to club it with the UP elections,”sources said.