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CEC says did not talk poll dates with K Chandrasekhar Rao

Hyderabad: In a strong rebuttal, Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat on Friday denied that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had called him to speak about the TS election schedule.

Speaking to mediapersons in Delhi, Mr Rawat said, “Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao did not speak with me. It is very unfortunate for a Chief Minister to say this.”

He was replying to questions on Mr Rao’s statement at a media conference on Thursday that he had finalised the schedule to dissolve the Assembly after speaking with Mr Rawat and the two other Election Commissioners and that the TS elections would be held in November along with four other states.

Asked if the elections would indeed be held in November as Mr Rao had stated, Mr Rawat shot back: “The Assembly election schedule will be decided by the Election Commission and not on the basis of astrology.”

Mr Rawat said neither the Chief Minister nor anyone could talk about the election dates, and only the Election Commission could do so. He said that the Constitution had empowered only the Election Commission to announce the schedule and conduct the elections and no one should interfere in this. He said the TS elections would be conducted at the earliest and on priority as he did not want a caretaker government to take decisions.

Mr Rawat said, “The Telangana Assembly was dissolved suddenly. We have asked for a report from the State Chief Electoral Office (CEO) regarding election arrangements.”