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CEC Jyoti said that the Gujarat Assembly elections will be held prior to December 18, to help enable simultaneous counting in both the states.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly election will be held on 9 November, the Election Commission (EC) announced on Thursday, adding dates for election to BJP-governed Gujarat’s Assembly will be announced later.

The EC said that the voting for the 68-seat state assembly will be held in a single phase on November 9 and the counting of votes will held on December 18, 2017.

Making the announcement, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti, accompanied by Election Commissioners Om Prakash Rawat and Sunil Arora said that the voting will be conducted using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with voter-verified paper audit trial (VVPAT). The EC said that the model code of conduct comes into effect immediately.

Himachal Pradesh election on Nov 9, counting on Dec 18; Gujarat dates to be announced later: EC

“We will have VVPATs along with EVMs. The height of voting compartments will be increased to 30 inches. Increased the size of the screen on VVPAT machines to 10 cm by 5.6 cm for the voters to able to verify their vote easily,” CEC A K Jyoti said.

Contrary to speculation, the commission has not declared the poll dates for the Gujarat Assembly election. Stating that the elections for Gujarat will be held later, CEC Jyoti said that the election will be held prior to December 18, to help enable simultaneous counting in both the states, so that the voting pattern of one region shouldn’t affect the voting of another.

As reporters persisted for reasons behind not announcing dates for Gujarat polls, and if it was because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s rally next week in Gandhinagar, Jyoti said that was not the case. “The Gujarat chief secretary wrote to us, saying due to unprecedented floods in the state, the relief work hasn’t been done and the state wanted time for that,” he said, reported NDTV.

While the term of the Gujarat Assembly will end on January 22, 2018, the tenure of Himachal Pradesh assembly ends on January 7, 2018. Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats. The Congress had won 36 seats and the BJP 27 in the last assembly elections. Independent candidates had won five seats.

With an estimate of 49.05 lakh voters, including at least 20,000 new ones, expected to vote for their preferred candidates, voting will be conducted at 7,521 polling stations across Himachal Pradesh. The Chief Election Commissioner further declared that apart from voter assistance booths, the state government has arranged 200 wheel chairs. Also, for the first time in Himachal Pradesh 136 all-women managed poll booths will be set up.

Also for the first time, the EC will be using RONet, an integrated application for conducted elections, which was earlier used in a pilot basis during the Ludhiana Assembly elections. Declaring that the model code of conduct is immediately put into effect, CEC Jyoti asserted that “bulk SMSes and voice messages on phone shall also be in purview of election advertisements”.

Here are the key dates for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election:

Voting: 9th November, 2017

Counting: 18th December, 2017

Date of Notification of election: 13th October, 2017

Last date of nominations: 23rd October, 2017

Scrutiny of nominations: 24th October, 2017

Last date for withdrawal of nominations: 26th October, 2017

Number of constituencies: 68

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