The Election Commission today 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.
# Gujarat assembly elections to be held prior to 18 December: Election commission
# Date of Counting: Dec 18
# Date of polling: Nov 9
# Last day of nomination withdrawal: Oct 26
# Last day of scrutiny: Oct 24
# Last date of nomination: Oct 23
# Date of Notification: Oct 16
# Size of VVPAT - 10 cm length and 5.6 cm width
# Bulk SMSes and voice messages on phone shall also be in purview of election advertisements
# A candiate is allowed to spend Rs 28 lakh
# Model code of conduct for Himachal Pradesh assembly election comes into effect from now itself: CEC
# Videography at all polling stations in Himachal Prdaesh
# One VVPATmachine from each assembly constituency in HP will be checked on a pilot basis to verify results
# VVPAT to be used in Himachal polls
# There will be all-women polling stations. CEC says for the first time Himachal Pradesh will have 136 all women managed booths.
# Height of voting compartments will be increased to 30 inches, says CEC
# Photo voter IDs to be used in Himachal Pradesh polls
# 49.5 lakh voters to vote across 68 assembly seats. Election Commission has instructed state to facilitate differently abled voters, says CEC
# 7,521 polling booths to be set up
# The tenure of current 68 Assembly ends on January 7, 2018. Out of 68 seats, 14 are reserved for SCs and 3 for STs
In Himachal Pradesh, there will be direct contest between the two national parties i.e. the BJP and the Congress with very little space for other players like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned in dislodging Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government this time. With the Himachal CM under ED scanner in connection with a money-laundering case, the BJP is all set to make corruption the focus of its election campaign.
In 2012 elections, the Congress had won 36 out of 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh Assembly and the party had secured 42.81% of vote share. The BJP, on the other hand, had won 26 seats with a vote share of 38.4%.