The Election Commission on October 12 announced that the Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9 and result will be announced on December 18.
Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said that filing of nominations will open on October 16 and the last date will be October 23. Scrutiny will be done the next day and the last for withdrawal of candidates will be October 26.
The term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7, 2018.
The Chief Election Commissioner said that VVPAT machines will be used in all constituencies in Himachal Pradesh because of which a voter will be able to see to which party, symbol and candidate his vote has gone to.
The CEC added that the model code of conduct in Himachal Pradesh comes into effect immediately under which the state government cannot take policy decisions. Similarly, the central government cannot announce policy decisions regarding Himachal Pradesh.
Reporters plied the Chief Election Commissioner with questions about why election dates for Gujarat were not announced on Thursday. Joti cited some office memorandums issued earlier to justify the delay in the announcement regarding Gujarat, saying the Election Commission had a statutory 21 days to carry out elections that can extend up to 45 days.
He said the election process in Gujarat will be completed before vote count in Himachal. The tenure of 182-member Gujarat assembly ends on January 22.
"The basic principle is that the voting pattern in one state should not affect the results of another state that goes to polls in a short period. Prior to Himachal results, the voting process will be over in Gujarat," he said.