The Gujarat Assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, respectively, the Election Commission (EC) has announced. Counting of votes will take place on December 18.
89 Assembly constituencies will vote in phase 1, while 93 will vote in phase 2.
Counting of votes will take place on December 18.
With the announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into force with immediate effect in the state.
Both Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be in use, chief election commissioner AK Joti said.
The height of the voting compartment has been increased from 24 to 30 inches to “maintain secrecy of voting.”
The maximum expenditure allowed to each candidate has been pegged at Rs 28 lakh, the CEC said.
Of the total 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, 102 will be manned entirely by women.
The term of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will end on January 23 next year.
The EC had come under fire for delaying the announcement of elections in the state.
While it was expected that the election body would announce polling dates for both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat together, that did not happen.
Instead, elections in Himachal Pradesh, which votes on November 9, were announced on October 12, but the only indication given about the elections in Gujarat was that they would take place before December 18, to “enable simultaneous counting” in both states.
The Congress had accused the EC and the BJP of ‘plotting’ to allegedly delay the Assembly elections in Gujarat. It had claimed that the Gujarat dates were not announced to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the saffron party time to last-minute “sops” to woo voters.
However, Joti had defended the delay, saying it ensured that the state did not spend a long period under the MCC as there was “no justification” for it.
He had also said that the Gujarat government had told the EC that it needed time to complete relief work before the code came into force.
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