Hi­machal elec­tions to be held on Nov. 9

The Asian Age - - Front Page - AGE COR­RE­SPON­DENT NEW DELHI, OCT. 12

As­sem­bly elec­tions in Hi­machal Pradesh will be held in a sin­gle phase on Novem­ber 9, and the re­sults will be de­clared on De­cem­ber 18, the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion an­nounced on Thurs­day. In­ter­est­ingly, the sched­ule for the Gu­jarat As­sem­bly polls was not an­nounced, and this drew an­gry re­ac­tions from the Congress, which al­leged that the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment was putting pres­sure on the EC to de­lay an­nounc­ing dates for the cru­cial state.

The Congress sus­pects the dates will be an­nounced af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi makes some “more elec­toral prom­ises”.

It may be re­called that even be­fore the com­mis­sion could an­nounce the poll dates, BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah had de­clared “on record” that the Gu­jarat elec­tions would be held in De­cem­ber. Vir­tu­ally work­ing on sim­i­lar lines, the EC in­di­cated As­sem­bly elec­tions in Gu­jarat would be held be­fore De­cem­ber 18.

The BJP had drawn se­vere crit­i­cism from the Op­po­si­tion par­ties af­ter Mr Shah said the elec­tions in Gu­jarat would be held in the first week of De­cem­ber.

Ad­dress­ing the

me­dia, chief elec­tion com­mis­sioner A.K. Joti said: “This is be­ing done to en­sure that the vot­ing pat­tern of one state doesn’t af­fect the other state... The polling in Gu­jarat will be held be­fore De­cem­ber 18 (when the Hi­machal Pradesh re­sults are an­nounced).”

He added that elec­tions in the two states were not be­ing held si­mul­ta­ne­ously to en­sure that the im­po­si­tion of the model code with im­me­di­ate ef­fect would stop all govern­ment work, and there was no need to pro­long it be­yond the re­quired pe­riod.

The ten­ure of the Hi­machal Pradesh As­sem­bly ends on Jan­uary 7, 2018, and that of the Gu­jarat As­sem­bly on Jan­uary 22. Cit­ing prece­dents, the CEC said elec­tions to the two states were an­nounced sep­a­rately in the past too, in­clud­ing in 1993, 1994 and 2002.

The Congress on its part al­leged the Modi govern­ment was “putting pres­sure on the EC to de­lay an­nounc­ing the dates for Gu­jarat”. Congress com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Ran­deep Singh Sur­je­w­ala said: “It is abun­dantly clear that the Modi govern­ment has pres­sured the EC to post­pone the an­nounce­ment of elec­tion dates in Gu­jarat, but the peo­ple of Gu­jarat have made up their minds to get rid of the BJP.”

He fur­ther al­leged that the an­nounce­ment of the Gu­jarat As­sem­bly polls was not be­ing done as Mr Modi will give at­trac­tive “jum­las” on October 16.

In Hi­machal Pradesh, the Congress will see an in­tense bat­tle with the BJP. In the 68-mem­ber As­sem­bly of the hill state, the rul­ing Congress has 35 mem­bers and the BJP has 28, while there are four In­de­pen­dents. One seat is va­cant.

In­cum­bent chief min­is­ter Virb­hadra Singh is fight­ing for a sev­enth term with Congress vice-chief Rahul Gandhi hav­ing de­clared him the next CM can­di­date of the party as well.

The BJP will be fight­ing on the back of a sweep­ing Lok Sabha vic­tory in 2014 in the state, and land­slide wins in the Ut­tar Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand polls in March.

Hi­machal Pradesh will be the sec­ond state af­ter Goa with 100 per cent VVPAT (pa­per trail of votes) cov­er­age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.