Setting the ball rolling for the poll season,the Election Commission on Friday announced dates for Assembly elections in the five states of Chhattisgarh,Madhya Pra-desh,Rajasthan,Delhi and Mizoram. Counting of votes in all the states will take place on December 8. These will likely be first polls where none of the above option will be introduced.
While elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases,the other states will have single-phased polls. The 90-member state Assembly of Chhattisgarh will go to polls on November 11 and November 19,with 18 constituencies in and around the volatile Bastar region voting in the first phase. While in Madhya Pradesh (230 Assembly constituencies) elections will be held on November 25,elections in Rajasthan (200 constituencies) will take place on December 1 and in Delhi (70 constituencies) and Mizoram (40 constituencies) on December 4. The model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect.
We would like to assure that all measures are in place to conduct free and fair polls … Elaborate security arrangements have been made, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said while announcing the polls. The EC has said it is in the process of working out the modalities to introduce the none of the above option in EVMs in these elections.
Also for the first time,the commission will deploy central awareness observers to oversee measures for voter awareness and facilitation with the aim of increasing turnout. Sampath also said the EC would take steps to educate candidates about filling up all columns in their affidavits at the time of filing nominations. The SC had recently ruled that in cases where columns are left blank,the nomination is liable for rejection.
The Assembly elections are crucial coming as they do just ahead of Lok Sabha polls next year. While it is Congress which is in power in Rajasthan,Delhi and Mizoram,the BJP rules Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Byelections to the Surat West Assembly constituency in Gujarat and Yercaud (ST) constituency in Tamil Nadu will also be held on December 4.