Himachal Pradesh to go polls on November 12, counting on December 8

The EC, however, did not announce the dates for the Gujarat election even though the two states vote almost around the same time

NEW DELHI: The elections for 68 Assembly seats of Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 12 in a single phase and the counting of votes will be held on December 8, after a gap of nearly a month, the Election Commission announced Friday. The EC, however, did not announce the dates for the Gujarat election even though the two states vote almost around the same time. The BJP is in power in both states.

The EC indicated the Gujarat election dates will be announced later.

The Himachal Assembly’s term ends on January 10, 2023, while that of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly ends on February 18, 2023. The EC said there was a gap of 40 days between the end of the two Assemblies, so it still has time in hand to make the announcement.

Traditionally, elections in these two states take place around the same time and are often announced on the same day. However, in the last election in 2017, Himachal voted on November 9 in a single phase while polling in Gujarat took place in two phases -- December 9 and 14 -- and the dates for these were announced separately by the EC. The votes in both states were counted December 18. But in 2012, the polls for the two states were announced by the EC the same day.

However, the EC justification came under severe criticism as in the case of Uttar Pradesh and Goa, which went to the polls this year, the gap between the tenure of the two Assemblies was 60 days, and yet the EC held their polls together.

“The gap between the tenure of two Assemblies (Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat) is 40 days. According to the rules, it should be at least 30 days so that one result does not impact the other. In Himachal, factors like weather are important, especially in the upper reaches where snowfall takes place. The EC is going by the convention followed last time in announcing the Assembly polls,” said Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on the question of separating the Gujarat and Himachal poll announcement dates.

It is expected that the dates for the Gujarat polls may be announced in a week or so, as was done during the previous Assembly polls. With 182 Assembly seats, Gujarat usually votes in two phases. It is expected the EC may keep counting of votes of Gujarat along with Himachal on December 8.

BJP president J.P. Nadda welcomed the announcement of the Himachal polls. The Congress also welcomed the announcement.

The election process in Himachal will begin from Monday, October 17, with the gazette notification. The last date for filing of nominations is October 25 while scrutiny will take place on October 27, and last date for the withdrawal of candidatures is October 29. The state will go for in polls in a single phase on November 12 and counting will be on December 8. The entire process has to end by December 10. Himachal Pradesh has over 55 lakh voters

The EC has reduced the number of days when the Model Code of Conduct will apply to Himachal Pradesh from 70 to 57 days, saying it does not want the entire election process to continue for a very long period.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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