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    BJP, CPM demand change in TN polling date

    Chennai: Citing exam season and Tamil New Year festivities, BJP and CPI (M) units in the state on Wednesday demanded that the Election Commission (EC) should revise the polling date for the state Assembly elections, scheduled for April 13.

    Both parties said electioneering will be at its peak during the exam season, causing hardship to students.

    BJP also said that the poll date would affect Tamil New Year festivities.

    "Though the government had revised Tamil New Year from the Tamil month of April to January, a large section of people still celebrate it on April 14 and prepare for the festivities days ahead of it," BJP state president Pon Radhakrishnan said in a statement in Tamil Nadu.

    The April 13 polling date would affect the festivities and its preparations, he said and demanded that elections be held in May.

    He said a gap of one-month between polling and counting, May 13, during which electronic voting machines will be guarded in designated locations, will create opportunities for mistakes, suggesting a possible tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

    CPI (M) state unit secretary G Ramakrishnan said around nine lakh students appearing for Class XII exams, scheduled from March 28 to April 11, in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be affected due to campaigning.

    "Further, teachers and government employees will also have to be employed for election duty. Therefore, the EC should revise the polling date keeping in mind the welfare of the students," he added.

    He charged the EC with not taking into account factors such as festivals and examinations before finalising the polling date.

    Assembly elections for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be held on April 13 and the counting of votes will be taken up on May 13.