Election Commission On Why It Didn’t Announce Gujarat Poll Dates Now

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The Gujarat assembly election 2022 dates will be announced later, the EC said

New Delhi:

The Election Commission today announced elections only for Himachal Pradesh and not Gujarat, though traditionally, the two states have always voted simultaneously.

That the Gujarat election was not announced today was surprising because the terms of both the assemblies end within the range of six months. In such cases, all state elections are announced together, and the results are declared on a common date.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, fielding questions, said no rules had been violated.

“There is a gap of 40 days between the end of the assemblies of the two states. According to the rules, it should be at least 30 days so that one result doesn’t impact the other,” Mr Kumar said.

The term of the Gujarat assembly ends in February and that of Himachal Pradesh, in January. The BJP is in power in both states.

“There are a number of factors, like weather. We want to hold the Himachal elections before the onset of snow,” he explained, adding that the Commission had held consultations with “various stakeholders”.

The Model Code of Conduct will apply to Himachal Pradesh for a fewer number of days — 57 days instead of 70 — the election chief said, continuing his explanation.

Many questioned this defence, given the unusually long gap between voting and results in Himachal Pradesh. The state votes on November 12 and the results will be declared almost a month later, on December 8.

The prolonged interval raised speculation that the Election Commission was keeping open a window to declare elections in Gujarat soon and had only deferred the announcement, for reasons that are not entirely known. 

In 2017, voting was held in both states in early November and the results were declared in December. Gujarat voted in two phases.

In Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, the ruling party has been challenged this time by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is campaigning aggressively after its mega victory in Punjab earlier this year.

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