NEW DELHI: Setting the stage for a heated political campaign in the chilly winter, the Election Commission on Monday announced elections to the 70-member Delhi Assembly to be held on February 7 with counting on February 10.
Announcing the much-awaited schedule for Delhi Assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath made it clear that the Model Code of Conduct will come into force with immediate effect. Going by the hectic campaign, the fight for power in Delhi seemed to be between the BJP and AAP, with the former Congress regime also appearing to be in the run.
For Sampath and his team, this will be the 10th time they conduct elections. It is set to be a unique poll — first, for the CEC, as he is set to retire on February 15 and it will be his last poll. Second, as Sampath himself pointed out, it will witness a hectic campaign as there are no polls anywhere else during this period.
Third, while deciding on the schedule, the Election Commission preferred not to follow the principle of giving a month’s time between announcement of the polls and the date of nomination. Sampath’s take was that there was no need to give more time as people were anticipating polls for a long time — Delhi has been under President’s rule for nearly a year. The electoral process in Delhi will be completed by February 12, three days ahead of the expiry of the President’s dissolution (of Delhi Assembly) on February 15.
In a bid to continue its winning spree in the Assembly elections, the BJP is making all out efforts to ensure Delhi also comes under its control.
For AAP’s Kejriwal, it’s a now or never situation, and he is mobilising all resources to ensure a win for his party.
The Delhi BJP held a meeting of its core group at the State office to discuss poll preparation. Party president Amit Shah, who is personally monitoring the poll preparations, had called the meeting to finalise the BJP’s strategy.
“Any unexpected result in Delhi will dent the ongoing Modi wave and the party national leadership doesn’t want to take any chances. Shah is likely to give instructions to the State leadership for the polls,” said a BJP leader.
Srirangam By-poll On February 13
The Srirangam by-poll is scheduled to be held on February 13, Chief Election Officer Sandeep Saxena announced on Monday. Model Code of Conduct came into force immediately and parties have started their preliminary works for the poll.