New Delhi, Oct 3: The people of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat will vote in new legislative assemblies in November and December, with the Election Commission announcing the dates after a meeting here.
Himachal Pradesh will go to the polls on November 4, and Gujarat in two phases, on December 13 and 17, the commission said. In the normal course, the term of the Himachal assembly ends on January 10, and that of Gujarat on January 17. The Himachal assembly has 68 seats, and Gujarat 182.
Gujarat has nearly 38 million eligible voters, and Himachal 4.5 million. The commission said every voter in Himachal has an electoral photo-identity card or EPIC and also figures on the state’s photo electoral rolls. In Gujarat, 99.43 per cent of the voters have EPICs.
The Commission finalised the schedule at a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and attended by Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi and other officials.
The Commission said it would deploy enough general observers to ensure smooth conduct of elections. It will also appoint Expenditure Observers and Assistant Expenditure Observers, tasked exclusively to monitor the election expenditure of the contesting candidates.
In addition, the commission will also post micro-observers at some critical polling stations on the poll day.
With the announcement of the election dates, the model code of conduct comes into effect immediately. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties, the State Governments of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Government from Wednesday.
The Commission said it has prepared the schedules for the two states after taking into consideration all relevant aspects such as climate, academic calendars, festivals, prevailing law and order situation, availability of central police forces and logistical factors.