Assembly elections 2012: Dates announced for India state polls
Gujarat will have a two-phase assembly election, on December 13 and 17, and Himachal Pradesh will elect its legislators on November 4. Results for both the states will be announced on December 20.
Announcing the election dates in New Delhi on Wednesday, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said, "the Model Code of Conduct has come into operation from this very moment. The EC will enforce it strictly and will monitor all activities related to elections in these states." This would mean state governments would not be allowed to make any policy announcements.
Sampath said EC will monitor the expenditure made by political parties and candidates for campaigning. A separate bank account would have to be created by candidates and money would have to be spent from that. EC will also ensure videography of the entire poll process, starting from the filing of nominations and scrutiny. EC has also simplified the mandatory declaration of assets by candidates, which can now be filed as a summary. The commission will monitor paid news as well. New guidelines were also issued for state officials. Police officers from the level of sub-inspector, who have served more than three years at a post, will now have to be transferred. Any policeman who is facing charges will not be on election duty.
The EC has also made a complaint redress mechanism. A call centre has been set up and anyone can call up 1950 to register poll-related complaints. "There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda," the EC said.
According to the poll schedule, the last date for filing nominations in Gujarat is November 24, for the first phase, and November 30, for the second phase. Scrutiny will be held on November 26, and December 1, respectively. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be November 28 and December 3, respectively. During the first phase of assembly elections in Gujarat, 87 of 182 assembly constituencies will go to polls. The remaining 95 will go to polls in the second phase.
In Himachal, the filing of nomination will end on October 17, scrutiny will be on October 18 and the last date for withdrawal will be October 20. Sampath said, "the schedule of elections has been prepared keeping in mind the climatic conditions, academic calendar like exams, festivals, law and order situation, as well as availability of security forces and the time needed for their movement."
A total of 44,496 polling stations will be set up in Gujarat for 3.78 crore voters, while 7,252 polling stations will be established in Himachal Pradesh for an electorate of 45.16 lakh.