BJP-ruling Himachal Pradesh is gearing up for a crucial assembly poll and in the midst of intense political fight between the parties, the Election Commission of India on Friday - October 14 announced the election date and notification for the assembly polls. The current Himachal Pradesh government was formed in December 2017 and it is being led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
As the deadline for the current government nears, the election heat got fierce between the parties. Recently, the officials from the Election Commission have visited the state to review election preparedness. On Friday, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar convened a press conference at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi and it was strongly expected that the dates for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly polls will be announced.
However, the Election Commissioner has only announced the date and notification for Himachal Pradesh. As per the announcement, Himachal Pradesh will host a single-phased poll and the voting will be held on November 12 while the results will be declared on December 8. Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats, with 35 being the majority mark.
The filing of nomination will begin on October 17 and the last date of filing nominations would be October 25. The last date of scrutinizing nominations will be October 27 and the last date for withdrawing the nominations will be October 29. The state will go for polls on November 12 and the winners will be declared on December 8.
In the current Himachal Pradesh assembly, BJP has 45 MLAs while the Congress has 22 and CPI(M) 1. For the past few weeks, the BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held incessant campaigns in the state to rewrite the history that Himachal Pradesh won't elect the incumbent to the office for the second consecutive time.
While BJP is recording a surging vote share in the past few years, the Congress party is hoping to oust the BJP regime in the midst of the race with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. A historical victory in the state of Punjab has given a significant push to Aam Aadmi Party to spread its base across the country and there were several analysis that AAP would divide the vote share and would win Congress votes.
Further blow to the Congress, the party's state chief Harsh Mahajan joined the BJP last month. As the Election Commission has announced the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in Himachal Pradesh and the polls will open a fresh election battle between the national parties next year as several states are going into polls in 2023.
While it was expected that the Election Commission will announce the dates for Gujarat assembly polls, the Chief Election Commissioner has refrained from unveiling the election schedule for Gujarat. For not announcing the election dates for Gujarat, the Election Commission said, "Various factors were considered, including convention, gap in qualifying dates and weather."