Assembly polls dates likely to be announced today for Gujarat & Himachal

Pavan Varma

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is likely to announce the schedule for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections 2017 at 4 pm on Thursday during a press conference at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi.

"The term of the Gujarat Assembly ends on January 22, so the election will have to be completed in December".

While the Congress has declared the incumbent Cheif Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh as the Congress candidate, the BJP is yet to decide on one.

With the announcement of the election dates, the model code of conduct will immediately come in place, restricting the state and the central government from announcing new schemes and sops. Jyoti had said that to tally the number of slips with the votes cast, the paper slips would be counted at a single booth in each of the 182 constituencies. If sources are to be believed the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held in single-phase. The Congress won 36 of the 68 seats while the BJP won 26 of the 68 seats. The tenure of the Himachal Pradesh government ends in November this year. The strength in the 182-member Gujarat House now comprises 115 BJP MLAs, 61 from the Congress, two from the NCP, and one from JD (U).

Both Congress and BJP have been holding heated campaigns in Gujarat. Elections in Gujarat in 2012 were held in two phases on 13 and 17 December 2012 respectively. The Assembly elections are likely to be held before the end of the year.

The polls are seen as a barometer of support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a time when a sputtering economy has handed the opposition Congress party a possible opening to regain political ground.

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