Different dates for Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections is EC’s missed opportunity to try simultaneous polls

The Election Commission belied initial expectations by not announcing dates for Gujarat Assembly election on Thursday. It was one of its kind press conference by the Chief Election Commissioner where the commission chose not to announce dates for one state (Gujarat) and announce dates only for the other state (Himachal Pradesh) where the elections were otherwise to be held simultaneously.

What makes Election Commission’s move even more interesting is the schedule for Himachal Pradesh elections — while 68 seats of the hill state will go to the polls on 9 November, the poll results wouldn’t be declared in a hurry. The state will have to wait for another 39 days (until 18 December) to know who wins and who loses, whether it would be BJP or Congress ruling the state for the next five years.

Five years ago, when elections in these two states — Gujarat and Himachal — were held, the Election Commission on 3 October 2012, had announced poll schedule for both the states in one ago. While a single phase election was held in Himachal on 4 November 2012, Gujarat underwent two-phased election on 13 December and 17 December; the results for both the states were declared on 20 December.

This time around, however, the Election Commission in its collective wisdom decided to split the announcement of the poll schedule for these two states. The big question is why is the Election Commission no...

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