Himachal Pradesh assembly election on November 9, counting on December 18

Himachal Pradesh assembly election on November 9, counting on December 18

Announcing the Assembly election dates for Himachal Pradesh, the Election Commission on Thursday did not give the exact dates for the Gujarat polls, though the two are to be held in the same period.

Lashing out at the Modi government for resorting to "shameless pressure tactics" on the autonomous body, and denigrating its authority and power, senior Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi stressed that within 10 minutes of the EC announcing the dates of the Himachal Pradesh polls, the Gujarat government announced sops worth hundreds of crores. Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats.

Making the announcement, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti, accompanied by Election Commissioners Om Prakash Rawat and Sunil Arora said that the voting will be conducted using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with voter-verified paper audit trial (VVPAT).

"Election in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat have always been held in tandem".

With the announcement of the schedule, the model code of conduct will get implemented in both the states and will be effective till the process of election gets completed.

Joti cited some office memorandums issued earlier to justify the delay in the announcement regarding Gujarat, saying the EC had a statutory 21 days to carry out elections that can extend up to 45 days.

Himachal will see 7,479 polling stations being set up to facilitate the over 49 lakh voters to cast their votes.

Singhvi said the "BJP had forced this change" so as to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce various sops "like a false Santa Claus" in Gujarat on 16 October.

The Commission said the decision to count the votes in HP in December after polling in Gujarat was taken to ensure that the poll outcome in one State does not affect polling trends in the other.

The tenure of 182-member Gujarat assembly is due to end on January 22, 2018.

In addition to such facilities for the differently-abled, the ECI also announced that for the first time, Himachal Pradesh will have 136 all women managed booths.

The BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections had won all the four seats with a vote percentage of 53.85 per cent.

He said the development had also cast "a serious shadow of suspicion on the working of the Election Commission".

While addressing the rally, Rahul Gandhi declared Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as the party's face for the upcoming elections.

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