New Delhi: The schedule for assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana was annou-nced on Saturday by the Election Commission of India. By-polls in several states, notably for the 15 assembly seats whose defecting legislators toppled the previous Karnataka government, will also be held. All polling will be on October 21. Counting is on the 24th.
Notably, these are the first elections conducted after the massive parliamentary sweep by the BJP under Prime Minis-ter Narendra Modi. Also, they are the first polling after the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy.
Haryana will see a three-cornered contest between the BJP, the Congress and the JJP, while Maharashtra will be a clash of alliances, with the BJP-Shiv Sena versus the Congress-NCP. The BJP is the inc-umbent in both states, so it aims to retain them.
Notification will be on Friday, the last date of nomination on October 4, and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 7. Both current assemblies expi-re in early November.
“The model code of conduct, which provides a level playing field in elections, comes into effect immediately,” Chief Election Commis-sioner Sunil Arora told reporters.
In Maharashtra, Congress and NCP will contest 125 seats each, leaving the rest for smaller allies. The BJP-Shiv Sena are still talking. They had not formed a pre-poll alliance last time around but joined hands after the results, wherein they together won 185 seats. A formal alliance is expected soon.
Modi launched the BJP’s campaign in Maharashtra with a rally in Nashik on Thursday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is leading the campaign.
In Haryana, the BJP under CM Manohar Lal Khattar is confident. The Congress is bogged down in internal rivalries. In 2014, the BJP won 47 seats here limiting Congress to 15. By-polls to 64 assembly seats spread over 18 states and one Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar will also be held. These include 15 in Karnataka, for the disqualified MLAs, and 11 in Uttar Pradesh, for MLAs who became MPs.
The Samastipur Lok Sabha by-election is because sitting MP Ram Chandra Pawan passed away in July.
West Bengal will not see by-elections due to Durga Puja....