The term of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly ends on January 22, the term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7. Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said, the model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect.
Notification for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls will be issued on 16th of this month and the last date for nomination is 26th October. Counting of votes will take place on 18th December.
Electronic Voting Machines with VVPAT will be used in all the constituencies and voters will be able to see to whom they have cast their votes. Seven thousand five hundred twenty-one polling booths will be set up for voting in 68 assembly constituencies.
For the first time, Election Commission has made the arrangement of all women polling booths. Two polling booths in every constituency will be manned by women.
Gujarat, a BJP stronghold and home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is once again anticipated to see a bipolar contest between BJP and Congress. Himachal Pradesh, too, off-late has seen bi-polar contest between the two parties, with regional parties commanding very less political significance in the state.
Currently BJP has 120 legislators in Gujarat assembly, while the opposition Congress has 47 MLAs. While the latter had won 59 seats in the last assembly polls in 2012, dozen of its legislators had recently left the party with some of them joining the ruling BJP.
Congress, which is out of power in Gujarat since March 1995, is facing another uphill task in the state, where BJP has the strongest organisation.
Meanwhile in Himachal Pradesh, Congress is the ruling party run by an octogenarian leader Virbhadra Singh. The elections will also be test for the 83-year Chief Minister, who is battling probe by the CBI. Notably, Congress won 36 seats in last assembly polls in 2012, while BJP was reduced to 26 seats.