The Election Commission Saturday announced the polls dates for assembly elections in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. The elections in all states will be completed by December 7th and the counting of votes will take place on December 11.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat announced that the election in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases, in the first stage, elections will be held in 18 assembly constituencies on November 12. In the second phase, the voting will take place in the remaining 72 constituencies on November 20.
Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will go to polls on November 28, while Rajasthan and Telangana will vote on December 7 in a single phase.
The poll watchdog also announced that bye-elections in Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya in Karnataka will be held on November 03. Rawat said that the election will be held using latest Mark III EVM, VVPAT machines in all the states.
The election in five states is being held as the assembly session in four states comes to an end by the beginning of 2019, while an early election is being held in Telangana after CM K Chandrashekhar Rao dissolved the assembly last month.
Mizoram’s 50-member House expires on December 15, 2018, Chhattisgarh’s Assembly, comprising 90 members, ends on January 5, 2019. Meanwhile, the tenure of the Madhya Pradesh 230-member House expires on January 7, 2019, while the 200-member Rajasthan House comes to an end on January 20, 2019.
On September 6, KCR had dissolved the Telangana House to avoid a possible clubbing of Assembly polls with the Lok Sabha elections.
A controversy had erupted after the Election Commission postponed the timing of the press conference to announce the dates from 12.30 pm to 3 pm. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the timing of the press conference was deferred to give time to PM Modi for making a slew of announcements in Rajasthan before the modal code of conduct kicked in. The ECI, however, declined to comment on the allegations.
PM Modi addressed a rally in Ajmer of Rajasthan at 1 pm where he presented the report card of five years of Vasundhara Raje government in the state. Addressing the rally Modi said, “We are nearing the end of our term in Rajasthan and we are here to give you a report of all that we have done. It is a matter of honour to be here in your service and to fearlessly give you an account of everything we’ve done for your benefit.”
The Telangana BJP welcomed the announcement of dates for polling in Telangana, “We welcome it. We are prepared for it. We have already geared up our machinery,” state BJP president K Laxman told PTI. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said his party is ready for the polls, but said a case was pending in the court on alleged discrepancies in electoral rolls. “I don’t know what is the hurry for them. The matter is pending. Discussion is going on. Separate date given for the next hearing. Pending the next hearing, they have gone ahead and announced the schedule. They may have authority to do so. But then, the case is filed that there is anomaly, there is some discrepancy in the voters list,” he said.