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NDA vindicated as EC rules out repoll in Bihar

NDA vindicated as EC rules out repoll in Bihar

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 12, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/175632/NDA-vindicated-as-EC-rules-out-repoll-in-Bihar.html

No violations, say six teams on return

The Election Commission on Monday ruled out the possibility of repoll in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar after its fact-finding team reported there were no poll violations.

The Election Commission had come under attack from National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders for initiating the exercise to "mollify" RJD chief Lalu Prasad and for conducting an impromptu investigation without giving adequate notice period for candidates to appear before it.

Seen as a ploy by the Congress-led Government at the Centre to victimise Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for spurning overtures by the Congress, the NDA had demanded a total recall of the six fact-finding teams. RJD chief Lalu Prasad's Saran constituency was also inspected by the EC team following complaints of poll irregularities.

The NDA finally stood vindicated with the EC team finding no poll irregularities in the polling to the seven Lok Sabha constituencies that went to poll from April 16 to May 7.

Informing mediapersons about its decision, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said, "The commission has decided that there is no case for repoll in certain constituencies." He said the six teams of EC officials, which examined the complaints held detailed discussions with party leaders, candidates and State officials and briefed the commission on Monday.

On basis of the feedback, panel members did not recommend any repoll, he said. Among the most vocal of critics of the Election Commission decision was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which sought an explanation on the late response to the complaints lodged during the first phase of the poll. Even the Janata Dal (United) leaders in the State openly condemned the "one-sided" decision of the commission without consulting them and threatened to take out a public demonstration to protest the decision.

But refusing to be bogged down by the criticism, the poll panel justified its decision saying "the commission cannot ignore the complaints made to it". A delegation of NDA leaders even met the commission and submitted a memorandum to it in context of six teams of commission officials' visit to Bihar.

The commission had earlier announced re-polling and deferred elections in 145 polling stations (Phase-1), 12 polling stations (Phase-2), and 28 polling stations in Phases-3 with a view to ensure free and fair poll.


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