Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9, the Election Commission announced on Thursday, but gave no dates for BJP-governed Gujarat whose assembly term also ends in January.
The result for the election in Himachal Pradesh will be announced on December 18. Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner A.K. Joti said filing of nominations will open on October 16 and the last date will be October 23. Scrutiny will be done the next day and the last for withdrawal of candidates will be October 26. Polling will be held on a single day on November 9 and the vote count will be taken up on December 18 after completion of the election process in Gujarat, which the BJP has ruled for almost 20 years. Joti said the model code of conduct in Himachal Pradesh comes into effect immediately under which the state government cannot take policy decisions.
The term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7, 2018 and that of the 182-member Gujarat assembly on January 22. Reporters plied the Chief Election Commissioner with questions about why election dates for Gujarat were not announced on Thursday. Joti cited some office memorandums issued earlier to justify the delay in the announcement regarding Gujarat, saying the Election Commission had a statutory 21 days to carry out elections that can extend up to 45 days. He said the election process in Gujarat will be completed before vote count in Himachal. "The basic principle is that the voting pattern in one state should not affect the results of another state that goes to polls in a short period. Prior to Himachal results, the voting process will be over in Gujarat," he said.