Assembly polls in Delhi may be scheduled in second or third week of February, with an announcement likely in the first week of January. “The Delhi polls can be announced soon after the electoral rolls are published on January 5. They may be scheduled anytime before February 21, before the budget session of Parliament gets underway,” an EC functionary said.
Incidentally, the preparatory exercise for the polls has already begun, with deputy election commissioner Vinod Zutshi reviewing poll preparedness with the state chief electoral officer (CEO), district election officers (DEOs) and senior officers of Delhi Police. Zutshi, during the review meeting, asked CEO Vijay Dev and DEOs to ensure error-free electoral rolls and launch a voter awareness drive asking voters to check their names in the final electoral rolls due for publication on January 5.
Directing the DEOs and DCPs to undertake vulnerability mapping of polling stations in Delhi, Zutshi sought identification of critical polling stations and preparation of a security deployment plan for the ensuing election. DEOs were directed to ensure preparedness with regard to all areas of election management including manpower requirement, training of human resources and communication plan. All DEOs and DCPs briefed the EC about the poll preparedness of their respective areas.
Kejriwal to run from New Delhi
Ending speculation about whether Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal would contest fresh assembly elections from the New Delhi constituency or chose to contest from elsewhere, the party officially announced his name as its candidate from New Delhi.
Kejriwal had won this seat from former chief minister Sheila Dikshit last year by a massive margin and gone on to become the chief minister of Delhi. But the delay in announcing his name and a poster campaign by AAP projecting a direct contest between him and BJP's former Janakpuri MLA Jagdish Mukhi led to rumours that Kejriwal might not contest from New Delhi.
“AAP had been very clear that Kejriwal would not desert his constituency even though other political parties tried hard to fuel rumours that his constituents were unhappy with him,” said a party source. Seven other names have also been declared, with which AAP has so far revealed names of 59 candidates. Sources said that one more list, probably the last, should also be out before year-end.