Telangana: ‘Astrological predictions’ won’t decide poll dates, says CEC Rawat

NEW DELHI: Hours after reports emerged that the Election Commission was hinting at early polls in Telangana, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat  said that astrological predictions cannot decide the poll dates in the state.

“We will assess if assembly elections in Telangana can be held with other four states. Any astrological predictions (over dates) made by anyone is notwithstanding,” he said.

“In a section of the media, an outgoing constitutional dignitary predicted the schedule of elections. He said it’ll be announced in October, voting will be held in November and results would be declared in December.

That is totally unacceptable to the Election Commission,” he added.
Some media reports on Friday said that Rawat appeared to hint at the possibility of early elections in Telangana. The CEC hinted that elections in Telangana may be called along with the polls due in four other states in December this year, a report said.

“The Supreme Court has ruled clearly that in case of the House dissolution, polls should be held on the first occasion because caretaker governments cannot continue and get the advantage. You cannot dissolve the House and continue for six months as a caretaker government,” Rawat was quoted by IANS as saying.

“Elections have to be held as soon as possible. A decision will be taken keeping in mind various court rulings on the issue and prevailing ground reality,” the CEC said adding that the Commission holds poll within the legal framework to ensure they are free, fair and credible.

The term of the Telangana assembly was till June, 2019. But the Telangana Rashtra Samiti government chose to dissolve it, seeking early polls. Assembly elections are due in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year.

“But as you are saying that this (demand for early polls in other states) may spread like an infection, then there will be some problem,” Rawat said.
The Election Commission (EC) is likely to discuss the issue of holding polls in Telangana later in the day.

The Congress and some other opposition parties cried foul over the development, calling it the result of a “dubious pact” between Rao and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speculation was rife over the last few weeks about the likelihood of Rao going for an early election as he did not want national issues raised during the next year’s Lok Sabha polls to overshadow local factors, which the Telangana Rashtra Samiti(TRS) feels, are in its favour.

With the opposition hardly presenting the picture of a cohesive bloc, the TRS currently sits pretty in the state in whose creation Rao played a pivotal role.

Sources in the ruling party said Rao wanted to cash in on what he believes was a “positive atmosphere” in favour of his government.

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