India’s Election Commission on Wednesday announced dates for assembly polls in five states, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, the Chief Election Commissioner, Nasim Zaidi, said, “Over 16 crore people will take part in these elections. The Commission will distribute photo voters’ slip. There will be complete accountability in distribution of photo voter’s slip.”
Here are the highlights of his press conference;
- Counting to take place on 11 March
- Last phase of polls in UP to be held on 8 March
- Phase 6 polls for Uttar Pradesh to be held on 4 March
- Phase 5 polls for Uttar Pradesh to be held on 27 February
- BREAKING: Phase 4 polls (53 SEATS) for UP to be held on 23 February
- Phase 3 polls (69 SEATS) for UP to be held on 19 Fberuary
- 2nd phase polls in Uttar Pradesh to be held on 15 February
- Phase 1 polls for Uttar Pradesh to be held on 11 February
- UP will have 7-phase polls for 403 seats
- Manipur to have polls in 2 phases. 2nd phase (22 seats) on 8 March
- Manipur to have polls in 2 phases. 1st (38 seats) on 4 March
- Uttarakhand (70 seats) will go for polls on 15 February in single phase
- All 5 states will go for elections in one go. Goa (40 seats) and Punjab (117) will have polls on 4 February all in one phase.
- EC has encouraged the use of social media. Paid news is another the EC will focus on. We will also monitor TV channels owned by politicians and candidates. Campaign carried out by these channels will be deemed as expenses incurred by candidates.
- Expenses above Rs 20,000 have to be out of bank accounts to be set up and it has to be through cheques
- Election Commission is committed to fighting black money. Will work with agencies
- The limit for expenses for candidates is Rs 28 lakh for UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand & Rs 20 lakh for Manipur and Goa
- Model Code of Conduct comes into immediate effect. Will apply to central govt on announcing schemes and policy decision
- 1.85 lakh polling stations to be in operation for Assembly Elections to the five states
- Height of voting compartments has been raised to 30 inch for secrecy
- There will also be separate polling stations for women
- Electoral roll of Goa will be published on Jan 5, Manipur on Jan 12, Punjab Jan 5, Uttarakhand on Jan 10 and UP on Jan 12
- Nearly 100% voters have Electoral photo ID Card
On being asked that the schedule may not go down well with Aam Aadmi Party, which would have preferred different dates for elections in Punjab and Goa, Zaidi said, “We expected political parties to cooperate because the dates were finalised in consultation with all stakeholders.”
On the quewstion of the Union Budget possibly being presented at an earlier date, Zaidi said, “Commission has received one representations with regard to presentation of budget. We are examining it and will take call on it in due course.”
He said that any query on freezing of Samajwadi Party poll symbol was hypothetical right now. Let us first examine the documents
Uttar Pradesh with 403 seats is the most important among all states going for polls. The BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 by winning 71 out of 80 seats. These polls will be held in the shadow of demonetisation effects. Anything less than forming a government in the state will spell disaster for the BJP’s central leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In Punjab, the government led by the BJP and Akali Dal combine will face challenges from Aam Aadmi Party and Congress party.
Goa, where the BJP is in power, will too see a triangular contest with the saffron party being challenged for electoral supremacy from the Congress and AAP.
The Congress will have its task cut out in Uttarakhand, one of the last few remaining states, where the party is in power. The party was badly affected by defection of senior leaders to the BJP camp last year, when the Centre’s BJP government imposed the President’s Rule.
Congress party will also look to defend its government in Manipur, which has been a centre of massive political controversy because of the economic blockade of the state by the United Naga Council. The BJP may like to extend its electoral victory in the north-east by forming its first ever government here.