Election Omission: EC announces poll dates for Himachal Pradesh but not for Gujarat

IN a controversial decision, the Election Commission (EC) broke from convention on Thursday as it did not simultaneously announce polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, even though the terms of the two state Assemblies expire within two weeks of each other.

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said that this raised “serious questions,” while the Congress, the leading Opposition party in Gujarat, alleged that the BJP had pushed the EC to delay the announcement.

Himachal Pradesh will vote on November 9 and election results will be declared on December 18. Gujarat polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A K Joti said, will be announced later, but he added voting will wind up before Himachal results are declared. While Gujarat Assembly’s term ends on January 22, 2018, Himachal Pradesh’s finishes on January 7.

The EC normally holds elections together in states where the incumbent governments are completing their five-year term within six months. The poll dates for these states are announced simultaneously.

For instance, earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand went to polls together. Their poll schedule, spread over a month from February 4 to March 8, were all announced on January 4. Joti was a member of EC even then.

With the exception of 2002-03 — soon after the Godhra riots — when the Gujarat Assembly was dissolved prematurely, the Com...

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