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Assam elections to be held keeping Bihu, CBSE exam dates in mind, says CEC

Arora said political parties had requested the poll body to keep in view the Bihu dates while chalking out the schedule.

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati |
Updated: January 21, 2021 1:29:22 am
Those not included in NRC will be eligible to vote: CEC Sunil Arora in Guwahati. (PTI)

Rongali Bihu festivities and CBSE board examinations will be kept in mind while deciding the schedule for the Assam Assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said Wednesday, while clarifying that exclusion from the NRC doesn’t render one ineligible to vote.

The Bihu festival will take place in mid-April. The board examinations for classes X and XII are scheduled between May 4 and June 10. “So everything has to finish by that or preferably before that (May 4),” he said.

Arora said political parties had requested the poll body to keep in view the Bihu dates while chalking out the schedule.

“Political party representatives said such a schedule would encourage more voter turnout and would help avoid period of monsoon too,” he said. “Sensitivities about Bihu festival dates will be taken cognisance of and factored in while drawing up the schedule of election dates accordingly.”

Arora, accompanied by Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar, was addressing the press in Guwahati after completing a two-day review of poll preparedness in Assam. He said social distancing norms will also be put in place.

“As a result, the maximum number of electors at a polling station has been reduced from 1,500 to 1,000,” he said, adding that the number of polling stations would go up by about 5,000 and likely cross the 33,000 mark.

The National Register of Citizens, published in August 2019, excluded around 19 lakh people. Responding to a question on whether these people would be allowed to vote, Arora referred to a 2019 directive by the Home Ministry which said that the non-exclusion of a person from the list does not amount to them being declared a foreigner.

“By implication, such persons remain on the voter list and shall be eligible to vote unless a decision is taken by the concerned tribunal,” Arora said.

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