NEW DELHI: The first phase of Uttar Pradesh's Assembly elections has been rescheduled to March 3 due to uncertainty over the date of Barawafat festival, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.
The polls will now start on February 8 instead of the February 4 and the counting will be held on March 6.
The decision was taken after several political parties, especially in Bareilly, gave written undertakings asking the Election Commission to defer polling dates.
EC issued a statement that read, "The Commission has today decided that the notification for 60 ACs going for poll on February 4, 2012 shall not be issued on January 10. This is due to uncertainty about the date of 'Barawafat' festival which may also fall on February 4, 2012."
The poll panel said the law and order enforcing agencies and District Election Officers of the state had also referred to the possibility of the Barawafat festival coinciding with the with the first phase of polls, during the Commission's two-day review meeting in Lucknow last week.
"The law and order enforcing agencies and DEOs of Uttar Pradesh also raised this point during Commission's review meeting at Lucknow on January 6 and 7.
According to the earlier announcement, the Uttar Pradesh elections were scheduled for seven phases between February 4 and 28.
Earlier, 60 constituencies in districts of Pilbhit, Rampur, Bareilly, Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, Moradabad, Bijnor, Bhim Nagar and Jyotiba Phule Nagar were scheduled to go to polls on 4 February. After several political parties, especially in Bareilly, gave written undertakings to the Election Commission the date was changed.