The Election Commission on Wednesday rejected the ruling Congress' plea for postponing assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, to be held in two phases on November 14 and December 19, but said it could consider advancing the last phase by 15 days to accommodate school examinations.
Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said the Commission is "open" to the request of Himachal Pradesh School Examination Board Chairmain B R Rahi for advancing the poll in view of the Board's decision to hold examinations from December 4 to December 20.
"On a written request from the HPSEB Chairman about exam schedule from December 4 to December 20, the EC has asked the Board to adjust to the dates of the election announced.
"But in case of some difficulties, they should write to us in 2-3 days after which the Commission will discuss on advancing the poll by 15 days," Gopalaswami, flanked by Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and Y S Qureshi told reporters.
"The EC is open to the request of advancing the poll in the interest of the students if the board expresses its inability to hold the examination in accordance to the poll dates already announced," he added.
In that case, the second phase of the poll at present scheduled on December 19 will be advanced by 15 days and the Board would be asked to start its exams a little after that, the CEC said.
Goapalaswamy said as of now, the election will take place in the hill state as per the schedule already announced.