#NewsBytesExplainer: Why CEC didn't announce Gujarat assembly poll dates
In an unexpected move, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday announced the poll schedule for the Himachal Pradesh assembly only while the dates for the Gujarat assembly election were not made public yet. According to reports, the assembly polls in the two states have always been held simultaneously because the tenure of the two assemblies expires 40 days apart.
Why does this story matter?
- Skipping the announcement for Gujarat polls surprised many because the ECI usually holds elections simultaneously in states where the current governments' five-year terms are about to expire within six months.
- Gujarat could see a triangular contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
- Apart from the two arch-rivals parties, AAP is trying hard to cement performance in the state.
What did the CEC say?
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar Friday said that the decision to defer Gujarat polls was taken after consultation with all stakeholders and no rules had been violated. "There is a gap of 40 days between the end of the assemblies of the two states. Rules said it should be at least 30 days so that one result doesn't impact the other," Kumar said.
'Following past precedence in Gujarat; weather conditions in Himachal'
Kumar said the commission was following past precedence in keeping the announcement in abeyance about the schedule for the Gujarat assembly polls. He also cited the weather of Himachal Pradesh as a reason behind announcing the elections for the hill state first. "We want to hold the Himachal elections before the onset of snow," he explained.
In 2017 also ECI held polls separately
In 2017, like this year, ECI declared the dates for Himachal first, similarly adding that Gujarat polls will be announced later, The Indian Express reported. That year, Himachal went to vote on November 9 while Gujarat voted in two phases on December 9 and December 14. However, the results for both states were announced on December 18, 2017.
PM needs more time to make mega promises: Congress
The Congress on Friday reacted sharply saying the dates for Gujarat assembly elections were skipped in order to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi more time to make "mega promises and inaugurations." Congress national secretary Jairam Ramesh said his party is not shocked by the situation after the ECI declared poll dates just for the hill state and not for Gujarat.