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EC meets in Delhi, ready to announce poll dates

SHILLONG: Officials of the Election Commission of India met in Delhi on Friday to discuss the announcement of polls for Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
However, they reserved the announcement date as some more assessment was required. The announcement is likely to be made either on Saturday or Monday, sources said.
There was expectation from several quarters in Meghalaya that the poll date would be announced on Friday since the final electoral roll was published on January 10.
For the 2013 Assembly polls, the announcement was made on January 11 that year and the election was held on February 23.
An official source said no decision was taken by the Election Commission officials on the date of announcement of polls though a meeting was held in Delhi.
“The EC cannot declare the polls only for Meghalaya, which is currently peaceful, as they will have to assess the ground reality in Nagaland and Tripura,” the official added.
Compared to the past polls, law and order in Meghalaya is normal whereas Nagaland and Tripura have internal problems.
Last week, the Naga civil society group had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the polls as it wanted the government to first settle the militancy problem.
However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh ruled out deferring the polls in Nagaland stating that announcement of the election date was the prerogative of the Election Commission.
Tripura is marred by political rivalry that is also a cause for concern for EC.
However, sources said the declaration of date is imminent as Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Kharkongor, who had a plan to go to Garo Hills to assess the poll preparedness, was advised to be in station.
Forces granted
The Centre has sanctioned over 100 companies of central paramilitary forces as demanded by the state government for smooth conduct of polls.
The state had projected the requirement of 107 companies of additional forces and the Centre agreed to deploy the same, a police source said.

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