SHILLONG, Nov 22 – The Election Commission (EC) will pay special attention to the militancy-infested Garo Hills districts during the Assembly elections, scheduled for early 2013. Deputy Election Commissioner of India Alok Shukla today held a closed-door meeting with top officials of the State to assess poll preparedness of the State.
During the meeting, Shukla held discussions with Principal Secretary KS Kropha, Electoral Officer P Naik, Inspector General of Police, in-charge of election, Vijay Kumar and deputy commissioners of all the 10 districts of the State at the Pinewood Hotel here. The EC is taking no chances after the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chief, Champion Sangma appealed to his cadres from the Shillong District Jail to support the Congress party during the crucial Assembly polls. Sangma himself has shown interest in contesting the forthcoming elections.
Several State political parties have condemned the statement, with the United Democratic Party and ally of the present Congress-led coalition Government going on to allege that some Congress legislators are in nexus with the GNLA. The political parties are seeking intervention from the EC so that the poll process is not conducted under duress. The Congress party has repeatedly distanced itself from the statement of the GNLA chief.
Shukla told the media persons that the EC would take note of any attempt to disrupt free and polls and ensure suitable steps are put in place before the elections. He said that the EC is aware of the law-and-order situation and adequate security would be put in place, especially in the sensitive Garo Hills region during the election. But he refused to divulge much, saying it would be too premature to comment on the steps the EC would take to conduct free and fair polls.