All you need to know about the poll dates for first round of elections

By Prarthana Mitra

The Election Commission announced dates for the first round of assembly elections scheduled to begin next month. The dates for voting and poll counting in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana were among the ones declared.

Simultaneous elections will be held in these states before 15th December, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat informed the press in Delhi on Saturday. This announcement brings the Model Code of Conduct to force with immediate effect.

Besides these five states, the ECI also fixed the date for by-polls in Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya in Karnataka on November 3, further clarifying that no by-polls would be held in Andhra Pradesh this polling season.

ECI also insisted on setting up a voter assistance kiosk at all booths during the assembly elections. Commenting on the recent EVM and VVPAT debacle, Rawat said that all voting machines to be used for the purpose of the coming elections are latest Mark III and have been produced at BEL. Mock elections will be conducted before the nation goes to vote, he added.

Relevant dates: Polls, poll counting, nomination deadline

As per the CEC, Chhattisgarh polls will take place in two phases, with 18 assembly constituencies going to polls on November 12 in the first phase. Over the second phase, 72 constituencies will vote on November 20.

The rest of the dates make for a tight schedule, with legislative elections in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram scheduled for November 28. Rajasthan and Telangana will go to polls on December 7, also in a single phase.

The date of issue of gazette notification for all states except Mizoram is November 12, Rawat announced in the press conference. The deadline for nomination is November 19, and November 20 for scrutiny of the same. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is November 22. For Mizoram, nominations can be submitted till November 12 and withdrawn till November 19.

Poll counting in all five states will take place on December 11, 2018.

Current political trends in these states

Mizoram’s 50-member House finishes term on December 15, while Chhattisgarh’s 90-member Assembly and Rajasthan’s 200-member Assembly expire in January. The tenure of the Madhya Pradesh 230-member House also comes to an end early next year. The last time MP elected members of the assembly, the BJP won 166 seats in the House and elected Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Chief Minister. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao recently dissolved the House to jeopardise BJP’s plan to combine the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius