Hi­machal polls on Nov 9, Gu­jarat dates later: EC

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Sm­riti Kak Ra­machan­dran let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Hi­machal Pradesh will go to polls on Novem­ber 9, the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia an­nounced on Thurs­day. Re­sults will be de­clared on De­cem­ber 18.

Chief elec­tion com­mis­sioner AK Joti said the polls in Gu­jarat will be held be­fore De­cem­ber 18, so that re­sults of Hi­machal Pradesh have no im­pact on them. Dates of elec­tions in Gu­jarat will be de­clared later.

If the last round of as­sem­bly elec­tions in five states, es­pe­cially in Ut­tar Pradesh, was pro­jected by the BJP as a vin­di­ca­tion of the NDA govern­ment’s de­mon­eti­sa­tion gam­bit, the elec­tions for the 68-mem­ber Hi­machal as­sem­bly could be­come a test of pub­lic sup­port for its eco­nomic poli­cies, es­pe­cially the goods and ser­vices tax (GST) that trig­gered protests by traders in Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s home state.

Con­gress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi has given clear in­di­ca­tions of the party’s poll plank,


at­tack­ing the NDA govern­ment for the eco­nomic slow­down, lack of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, hasty rollout of the GST and the plight of farm­ers, labour­ers and small traders and busi­ness­men.

The BJP has put up a brave front cit­ing how the In­dian econ­omy is the fastest-grow­ing in the world and obliquely hinted at its re­turn to old themes by ad­dress­ing Gandhi as “she­hzada” and re­fer­ring to “Ital­ian glasses”.

The next round of elec­tions could have im­pli­ca­tions for the NDA govern­ment’s eco­nomic model, too.

While the BJP’s vic­to­ries in th­ese elec­tions could em­bolden the Cen­tre to stick to its fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion path and go for some bold re­forms, es­pe­cially in the labour sec­tor, an ad­verse poll out­come could put pres­sure on the govern­ment to opt for pop­ulism.


CEC AK Joti, flanked by Su­nil Arora and OP Rawat (L) an­nounces the Hi­machal elec­tions sched­ule in New Delhi on Thurs­day.

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