Centre in a fix for late polls in Karnataka

Updated: Jan 28 2008, 04:51am hrs
Prospects of early Assembly elections in Karnataka has suddenly come under a cloud with a strong opinion building in the Congress that the process should be held only after implementation of the delimitation exercise.

At the nub of the Congress desire to push polls in Karnataka towards the year-end is the the fear that the outcome would go to the advantage of the BJP if early polls are held. There is also a view that the party will stand a better chance under the delimited regime, as the number of ST and SC seats will go up in such a situation.

The Karnataka Congress aversion to early polls, however, has put the Manmohan Singh government in a fix, which is now having to grapple with the vexing decision of when to notify the delimitation process in the country. It is still to get the ball rolling on getting the Presidents seal on the matter, even though the union cabinet a few weeks ago decided to move ahead with the delimitation process.

The problem before the UPA government, however, is that it will have to seek an extension of Presidents rule in Karnataka in parliament during the budget session. This is easier said than done in the face of staunch opposition from the BJP, who have already made it clear that they will not agree to any postponement of polls in the state.

As of now, the election process have to be conducted in Karnataka before May 27. In the event that polls are held in May, they will have to be done as per existing constituencies since the Election commission is on record stating that it will need around four months time before holding polls under the delimited regime.

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