On Thursday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates for the Gujarat Assembly Elections. The ECI said that the polls in the state would be conducted in two phases on December 1 and December 5, and that its results will be declared on December 8.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar began his media interaction by expressing heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the horrifying tragedy in Morbi. A bridge collapse there last week led to the death of 135 people.
The date for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections was also announced earlier this month by the poll panel which said that the state would vote on November 12. However, while announcing the Himachal poll schedule, the EC made it clear that the results of both states, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, would be declared on the same day, December 8.
Interestingly, this is not the first time when both the states Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh shared the date of poll results. In the year 2017 as well, election dates for both states were announced separately, but counting had taken place on one day, December 18.
As per the electoral roll, over 4.9 crore electors are registered in the state of Gujarat, out of which 4.04 lakh are PwD electors. However, the number of senior citizen voters is over 9.8 lakh and 4.61 lakh are first-time voters. The commission said that around 51,782 polling stations would be set up across 182 Assembly Constituencies to ensure a hassle-free comfortable voting experience during the polls.
Further, the ECI in a series of tweets mentioned that 1274 polling stations will be completely managed by women polling and security staff and 182 polling stations will be managed by specially-abled staff. “For the first time, to motivate young voters, 33 polling stations will be managed by youngest available polling staff”, it added. Besides this, the ECI also emphasised that it will focus on ensuring the participation of third-gender voters in the election process.
The Gujarat assembly’s term ends on February 18, 2023, while the Himachal Pradesh assembly’s term ends on January 8, 2023. According to the reports, the battle for Gujarat has heated up, with the BJP and the AAP springing up as the top two contenders. In 2017, the BJP won 99 of the 182 seats, while the Congress won 77. The ruling party is this time attempting to secure its sixth consecutive term in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.