(Image source from: Deccanchronicle.com)
Gujarat Poll Dates Announced:- The dates for the Gujarat assembly elections were announced by the Election Commission on Wednesday. The Gujarat assembly elections will be held in two phases for 182 seats on December 9 and 14 and counting of votes will take place on December 18.
The opposition parties criticized EC, for not announcing the dates for Gujarat polls along with Himachal Pradesh. The voting date for Himachal Pradesh was declared earlier this month. On January 23, 2017, the term of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly gets over. The EC only was giving time to the BJP government in the state and at the Centre to sidestep the provisions of the model code, by “delaying” the announcement of the Gujarat polls, alleged the opposition. And also, offer sops to the electorate, to swing votes in favor of the saffron party.
(Video Source: NTV Telugu)
The Congress had alleged that to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to play a “false Santa Claus, it was done. And also, announce freebies for voters before the model code of conduct kicked in, after the EC did not make an announcement of the election schedule for Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the decision of announcing Himachal Pradesh’s poll schedule before that of Gujarat was defended by Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti. He said that before taking a call on election dates, multiple factors including the weather, flood relief work and festivities were considered. The schedules of Gujarat and Himachal polls were different, even though they were announced together in 2012, said the CEC. In geography or weather patterns, the two states had no similarities.
“There are 4.33 crore voters in Gujarat. 50,128 polling booths will be set up. Gujarat assembly poll to be fully VVPAT-based. 102 all-woman manned stations,” said Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti while annoucing poll dates. The Model Code of conduct comes into effect immediately..
“Voter assistance booth will be set up for every polling station and differently-abled voters will be given preference. Height of voting compartment increased to maintain secrecy. EVMs and VVPATs to be present at all polling stations”, he added.
For all critical events, videography, CCTV and webcasting coverage will be done, without violating secrecy. For election expenditures, the candidates will be required to open separate bank accounts and the ceiling of election expenditure is Rs 28 lakh.