The Election Commission announced on Friday that Himachal Pradesh will have elections on November 12 and that results will be announced on December 8. This statement surprised many since it conveniently ignored Gujarat, which was also anticipated to hold elections before the end of the year.
Rajiv Kumar, the chief election commissioner, responded to a barrage of inquiries about the unexpected change by stating that they arrived at the decision after taking into account a number of factors, including “convention,” the gap between the last dates of the two states’ assembly terms, and weather.
The 68-seat Himachal Pradesh assembly’s current term expires on January 8, with 35 members constituting the majority. The Gujarat Assembly’s term ends on February 18. Elections are often held concurrently when their terms expire within six months of one another.
“Between the conclusion of the two states’ assemblies, there is a 40-day pause. In accordance with the regulations, it must be at least 30 days in order for one outcome to have no bearing on another “Mr. Kumar asserted, denying that any laws had been broken.
“There are many variables, such as the weather. We want the Himachal elections to take place before the arrival of snow, he said, adding that the Commission has consulted with “a number of stakeholders.” “.
The two states will hold their elections separately for the second time.
When polls were separated in 2017, the Election Commission came under fire from the opposition for doing so in order to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi time to offer last-minute concessions for his home state.
Under scrutiny, the then-chief election commissioner, AK Joti, had justified the postponement, stating that the state had sought it because of rain and floods and that it assured the state did not spend a lengthy term under the Model Code of Conduct without “justification.”
Another difference this time is that the Model Code of Conduct period, which prohibits the notification of government actions that can influence voters, has been shortened from 70 days to 57 days.
The one-month delay between the vote and the results in Himachal fueled rumours that the Election Commission was holding off on calling elections in Gujarat for the time being but would shortly declare them.
The BJP won 44 seats in the most recent Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, while the Congress won 21. The CPI(M) got one seat and two votes from independents.
The BJP received 48.79% of the total valid votes, followed by the Congress (41.68%) and Independents (0.3%). (6.34 per cent).
This time, by entering the Himalayan state that borders Punjab, which it already won this year, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeks to turn the typically two-sided election into a triangular battle.
More than 55 lakh individuals, including 1.86 lakh first-time voters, 1.22 lakh persons over the age of 80, and over 1100 people over the age of 100, are eligible to cast ballots.