Election Commission: Himachal will go to polls on November 9
AK Jyoti, Chief Election Commission, announced that the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly will go to polls on November 9 and the counting of votes will be held on December 18. The term of Himachal's legislative Assembly ends on January 7, 2018. The election dates for Gujarat, which will probably go to polls in December, will be announced at a later date. Know more!
Live coverage of the EC Press Conference
VVPATs to be used; voting compartments' height to be increased
The EC announced that to promote secrecy during the voting process, the voting compartment's height will be increased to 30 inches, against 24 inches earlier. Moreover, Voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, providing a slip detailing voted party, will be used alongside EVMs. This is the first time that state polls will be held using VVPAT machines.
Other details announced by the EC about Himachal elections
Himachal will, for the first time, have 136 all women-managed booths. Moreover, the EC announced the model code of conduct to be effective immediately. EC stated that bulk SMSes and voice messages will be under the purview of election advertisements. To address candidates' high election expenditures and to maintain law and order, senior IPS officers will be present with expenditure observers in each district.
Gujarat polls to be held before Dec 18
EC said the polls in Gujarat would be held before December 18; the dates have been delayed because the relief rehabilitation of the July floods is yet to be completed. The state government had asked for more time before the model code of conduct be enforced.
Won't the Himachal polls affect voting in Gujarat?
EC asserted that Himachal's votes will be counted on December 18 and Gujarat will probably go to polls by then, so Himachal polls won't affect voting patterns in Gujarat elections. Moreover, Himachal polls are being held earlier to avoid weather conditions like snowfall affecting polls. EC said in 2007 and 2012, Gujarat and Himachal elections were announced separately; thus, this situation has arisen before.
EC makes efforts to ensure no malpractices are conducted
EC is taking steps to ensure that no malpractices are undertaken during polls. All polling processes will be videographed and CAPF will be deployed to help local police to ensure fair elections. Further, to ensure that candidates don't spend exorbitantly, per-candidate expenses have been limited to Rs. 28L. A monitoring mechanism will also be set up to tackle the menace of paid news.