NEW DELHI: Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana will be held on October 21, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.
Counting of votes in both the states will be held on October 24, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said at a press conference here. The CEC also appealed to the political parties to avoid use of plastic in campaigns.
"There will be a Rs 28 lakh-cap on poll expense on each candidate. We appeal to the candidates to use environment-friendly materials. We reassure all the stakeholders about the quality of electronic voting machines," he said.
Arora on Saturday also said that schedule for the Jharkhand assembly will be announced later. With the announcement of polls dates, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the two states.
While the term of 288-member Maharashtra Assembly ends on November 9, that of the 90-member Haryana Assembly expires on November 2.
While Maharashtra has 8.94 crore registered voters and Haryana has 1.82 crore registered voters. In Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government is in power after the party won 47 out of a total of 90 seats in the 2014 Assembly elections, while the Congress was restricted to just 15 seats.
In 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections, BJP won 122 seats, Shiv Sena received 63 seats, while Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) could only manage 42 and 41 respectively from a total of 288.
Besides, the EC also announced bypolls for 64 seats which will be held on the same date October 21. These seats include — Arunachal Pradesh (1), Assam (4), Bihar (1), Chhattisgarh (1), Gujarat (4), Himachal (2), Karnataka (15), Kerala (5), Madhya Pradesh (1), Meghalaya (1), Odisha (1), Puducherry (1), Punjab (4), Rajasthan (2), Sikkim (3), Tamil Nadu (2), Telangana (1) and Uttar Pradesh (11).
Arora also said that special security arrangements will be made for Maoist-affected areas in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Maharashtra.
Moreover, two officers who were instrumental in exposing malpractices in Vellore are being sent to Maharashtra as special expenditure observers for the Assembly elections there.
The state elections are significant as it has come after the Lok Sabha polls in which the saffron party registered a landslide victory by winning 303 of 543 seats, while the NDA’s total tallied to an unprecedented 353.
Moreover, these State polls will also be seen as a litmus test in the backdrop of abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and passing of the Triple Talaq Bill in the Parliament.
Date of Notification: 27th September
Last date for filing nominations: 4th Oct
Scrutiny: 5th October
Last date for withdrawal: 7th October
Polling date: 21st October
Date of counting: 24th October.
(With Inputs from ENS and Agencies)