EC asks for3 IAF copters in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun: With the weather continuing to play truant in poll-bound Uttarakhand, the state Election Commission has sought the services of three IAF helicopters to deal with any emergency that may arise during the January 30 Assembly elections.

"We have made a request to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide three helicopters during the Assembly polls to deal with any emergency situation that may arise in the wake of inclement weather," Uttarakhand Chief Electoral Officer Radha Raturi said here on Wednesday.

She said the MeT department had predicted heavy snowfall and rains on January 23 and 24 and the EC was making elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the polls. "The possibility of a repoll also cannot be ruled out keeping in view the prevailing weather conditions," she added. Snowfall in the higher reaches of the hill state and dense fog and rains in the plains during the last few days have marred electioneering in Uttarakhand.

The inclement weather forced BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri to cancel their series of election rallies in various parts of the state on on Wednesday. The candidates are also facing difficulties in campaigning as most voters prefer remaining indoors due to the biting cold. While some political parties like the BJP have demanded the postponement of the elections, the Congress has said that it would honour any decision taken by the EC in this regard. A top official of the state election commission, however, said the polls would be held as per the schedule.