The Election Commission has announced the election schedule to the state assembly of Himachal Pradesh. The state will poll on November 9 and the counting of votes will take place a month later on December 18, announced CEC AK Joti in New Delhi. The term of 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7.
The schedule for Gujarat will be announced separately but assembly elections in the state will be held before December 18, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said at a press conference.
This, he said, is being done to ensure that the voting pattern of one state does not affect the other state.
“The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately,” Joti said while announcing the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh.
The code of conduct will be applicable for Himachal Pradesh as well as for the Union government in matters related to the state.
Joti, who was flanked by Election Commissioners O P Rawat and Sunil Arora, said the last date for filing of nominations is October 23. After scrutiny on October 24, the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 26, the CEC said.
Himachal Pradesh will be the second state after Goa with 100 percent VVPAT (paper trail of votes) coverage. The paper trail machines will be deployed along with EVMs in all the 7,521 polling stations.
For the first time ever, the Election Commission will set up 136 all-woman managed polling booths in Himachal Pradesh, with each constituency having two women. The Commission has also increased the size of the VVPAT paper trail.
The state is pitched to see a bi-polar fight between BJP and the Congress. Congress is the ruling party run by an octogenarian leader Virbhadra Singh. The elections will also be test for the 83-year Chief Minister, who is battling probe by the CBI.
Congress won 36 seats in last assembly polls in 2012, while BJP was reduced to 26 seats.
(With inputs fromPTI)