Elections to the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh Assembly will be held on November 9 and counting will begin on December 18, the Elections Commission of India announced on Thursday.
Announcing the dates, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said the polling process for Himachal Pradesh will begin with the issue of election notification on October 16, and the last date for filing nomination is October 23.
On the question of when elections would be held in Gujarat, CEC Joti said it will be organised prior to December 18. He said the poll schedule was planned such that the Himachal result does not impact voting in Gujarat. Election Omission: EC announces poll dates for Himachal Pradesh but not for Gujarat
The model code of conduct for Himachal comes into effect immediately, he said. Also, bulk SMSes and voice messages on phone will come in the purview of election advertisements, Joti added.
And the height of the voting compartment has been increased to 30 inches. “We will have VVPATs along with EVMs; Commission has issued instructions to increase the height of the voting compartment to 30 inches,” he said.
The Congress has 36 seats in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, while BJP has 26. The Himachal Lokhit Party had won 1 seat, while Independents bagged 5. The Congress announced Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as the party’s chief ministerial candidate last week. He has served as chief minister for six terms. The election is seen as crucial for the Congress, as the state is one of its few strongholds in the country.
CEC Joti also said that voting for the RK Nagar bye-election will be held before December 31. A bye-election was necessitated due to the passing away of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Earlier in April, the Election Commission cancelled the R K Nagar bypoll over allegations of of large-scale bribing of voters.