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Will take a call on Budget announcement soon – Poll panel

Announcing the elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said they are looking at the representation given by political parties questioning the election dates clashing with the announcement of the Union Budget.

The Union Budget is likely to be announced on February 1, just three days before the states of Punjab and Goa go for single phase polls on February 4.

Assembly elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh in seven phases starting with the first phase on February 11 and ending on March 8. The polls for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth phase in UP will be held on February 15, 19, 23, 27 and March 4. Elections in Uttarakhand will be held in single phase on February 15. Looking at the grim law and order scenario in Manipur, the commission has decided to hold elections in two phases on March 4 and 8 in the state. The counting of the votes of all the five states that are going to the polls will be done on March 11.

“The Commission has received one representation sent by some political parties. This representation is with regards to presentation of the budget. The Commission is examining this representation and in due course of time will take a call on this,” Zaidi told reporters when asked about the issue.

Parrying questions on AAP raising objection on holding polls on the same dates in Punjab and Goa, Zaidi said the election schedule has been decided after due diligence and consultations with all stakeholders including political parties, state authorities, central armed police forces etc.

In a first, the Election Commission has decided that all candidates will have to file another affidavit besides the existing one that will contain a ‘no demand certificate’ declaring any pending bills of electricity, water, telephone and rent of government accommodation held during the last 10 years. “These details will be scrutinised by the returning officer,” Zaidi said.

(With agency inputs)