Chandigarh: Assembly elections in Punjab are likely to be held in the last week of January or first week of February next year, state chief electoral officer V.K. Singh said here on Tuesday.
He however did not give the exact dates of the election which will be announced by the Election Commission (EC) by the end of this year.
The previous elections to the 117-seat assembly were held on January 31, 2012 but the results were declared in March first week in 2012 after completion of the election process in other states.
Singh said that the election department was making all preparations for the assembly elections.
“A special campaign for revision of electoral rolls from September 7 to October 7 will be held. The campaign is to include names of all eligible voters. People have been asked to get their vote made before January 2 next year. This process has to be completed before nomination process (for the election) starts,” he said.
Singh said that as per the data of 2016, Punjab’s population stood at 2.95 crore.
“As per the data, there should have been 1.99 crore eligible voters (those above 18 years). However, the registered voters with us are 1.92 crore. We are trying to get as many new voters registered as possible,” the CEO said.
“In 2014 parliamentary elections, there were 1.96 crore voters. After Aadhaar-based screening, nearly 4 lakh votes deleted from rolls as these were duplicate voters or people have died,” he noted.
“Youngsters not taking much interest in getting votes made. A special campaign in colleges and other places is being carried out to enrol new voters,” Singh added.
The assembly elections in Punjab are crucial this time as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is posing a challenge for the traditional rivals – the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJPO alliance and the opposition Congress.
A new political outfit, Awaaz-e-Punjab, was announced by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu last week.
The Akali Dal-BJP combine, who has been in power in the state since 2007, will take a third shot at power in the next assembly polls.