New Delhi [India], Sept 21 (ANI): Maharashtra and Haryana will elect new Assemblies on October 21 in a single phase and the votes will be counted on Oct 24 in polls that will test the strength of parties including the ruling BJP after its massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections in May and major changes made in Jammu and Kashmir last month.
The whole election process will be completed by Oct 27 on Diwali day as the term of the current Assemblies in Maharashtra and Haryana end on November 9 and Nov 2 respectively, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said giving the schedule for the elections.
He said most of the political parties in Maharashtra wanted the elections to be completed before Dhanteras that falls on Oct 25.
The Model Code of Conduct has come into effect with the announcement of poll schedule.
Bye elections will be held to fill one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar and 64 Assembly constituencies in 17 states and Puducherry Union Territory including the seats held by disqualified MLAs in karnataka and 11 seats in uttar pradesh.
Notification for the Assembly elections in the two states will be issued on Sept 27 and the last date for nominations will be Oct 4. Scrutiny of nominations will take place on Oct 5 and the last date for withdrawal is Oct 7.
For the bye elections, the notifications will be issued on Sept 23, the last date of nominations is Sept 30. Scrutiny will take place on Oct 1 and the last date of withdrawal is Oct 3. The date pf elections and counting of votes in the bye elections will be the same as that in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Maharashtra has a 288 member Assembly while the strength of the House in Haryana In Maharashtra, 29 seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 25 for Scheduled Tribes. In Haryana, it is 17 SCs. There is no ST seat in Haryana.
There are 1,82,98,714 voters in Haryana this time, while Maharashtra has 8,95,62,706 registered voters. As per norms, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) immediately comes into force in both the states.
In Haryana, 0.38 lakh balloting units, 0.25 lakh control units and 0.27 lakh VVPATs will be used, while in Maharashtra, 1.8 lakh BUs, 1.28 lakh CUs and 1.39 lakh VVPATs will be used.
In the 2014 polls in Maharashtra, BJP won 122 seats and Shiv Senagot 63 seats. The two parties fought separately while this election they are likely to contest togther in an allliance. Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) could only manage 42 and 41 seats respectively.
In Haryana, the BJP had captured power for the first time in 2014 when it won 47 seats while the Congress was restricted to just 15 seats.
The Electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) coverage in final electoral rolls is 100 per cent for Haryana and 96.81 per cent for Maharashtra.
In keeping with the Centre's push for elimnating single use plastic, the Election Commission has also appealed to political parties and candidates avoid using plastic, polythene and other materials in their campaign as an eco-friendly measure.
Arora said that considering the long-term deleterious impact of materials like plastics, polythene, etc. on environment, the Commission has directed that all political parties, candidates and their agents,etc. shall desist from using them for preparing election-related publicity material.
He also said that on the demand of several political parties in Maharashtra, more than 5,000 polling booths, which were on the first or second floor level have been brought to the ground level.
Moreover, special security arrangements have been made for Left Wing Extremism affected areas in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Maharashtra.
As compared to 16,244 in 2014, there are 19,425 polling stations in Haryana, while Maharashtra has 95,473 polling stations this time as compared to 90,403 in 2014Arora further shared that on demand of several political parties in Maharashtra, moreHe stated that the expenditure limit for candidates in both the states will be Rs 28 lakh in each seat.
Assembly bye-elections are to be held in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Odisha, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Pudducherry and Himachal Pradesh on October 21.
Among the 64 Assembly constituencies, there are four in Assam, five in Bihar, four in Gujarat, two in Himachal Pradesh, 15 in Karnataka, five in Kerala, four in Punjab, two in Rajasthan, three in Sikkim, two in Tamil Nadu, 11 in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Meghalaya, Pudducherry and Telangana. (ANI)