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EC team to visit Punjab next week to review poll preparations

An Election Commission team will visit Punjab next week and later on Uttarakhand and Goa to undertake ground level review of preparations ahead of Assembly elections due early next year in these states, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said on Tuesday.

Elections are due next year in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. Zaidi was speaking to reporters after inaugurating an ‘Election Museum’ in the office premises of the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi at Kashmere Gate.

“EC had begun the preparations about six months in advance. And the Commission is working according to a very tight calendar of activities. There are more than 140 activities which we have to plan before we schedule the elections. And those activities are proceeding satisfactorily,” he said.

“We (EC team) have visited Manipur and UP. And next week we are visiting Punjab, followed by Uttarakhand and sometime later Goa,” the CEC said. AAP is making its electoral debut in Punjab making the polls a triangular contest with Congress and BJP-SAD alliance already locked in a tight battle for political supremacy. The Punjab State Election Commission recently had asked political parties in the poll-bound state to comply with the directions of the Election Commission on not using public funds and machinery to carry out any activity that amounts to advertisement for the party.

“We are now undertaking ground level review of our preparations,” Zaidi said. On a question over the proposed Ramayan Museum in Ayodhya, he said, “We are not in election period, so it will not be appropriate for me to comment.” Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma today visited Ayodhya to inspect the proposed site for setting up the museum, a move seen as an attempt to woo pro-Hindutva elements ahead of assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

Sharma said Ayodhya’s development will get a big push from the Rs 150 crore allotted for developing the museum, which is to be located 15 km from the site where the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, triggering communal riots across the country. The Election Commission had earlier said it will keep an eye on the role of police in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections slated next year, besides focusing on the use of money and muscle power.

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