'Himachal Janmat-2017' app launched for info on assembly polls

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.

"The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately", Joti said while announcing the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh.

# Himachal Pradesh will have 136 all women managed booths for the first time.

Joti, who was flanked by Election Commissioners O P Rawat and Sunil Arora, said the commission had received a request from the Gujarat government to defer the announcement to allow relief and rehabilitation work in flood-hit districts of the state.

The tenure of the Himachal Pradesh government ends in November this year.

During 2013, assembly elections were declared on a single date, unlike this time where Election Commission only said that polling in Gujarat will take place before 18th of December.

In a surprising move, the Election Commission of India on Thursday declared the date the assembly election results will be announced in Gujarat but did not declare the date the election would be held.

This is to ensure that the outcome in the hill state does not have an impact on the elections in Gujarat.

The Election Commission will also post an expenditure observers to monitor election expenses during Himachal Pradesh polls, each candidate will be allowed to spend Rs 28 Lakh for his campaign.

Meanwhile, the term of the current Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends next month. Independent candidates had won five seats. The last date of scrutiny of nominations is October 24.

# All the polling stations will be on ground floor.

The official said the reason the voting date for Himachal was fixed for November (resulting in a large gap with counting of votes) is due to the consideration of weather. He also informed that VVPATs along with EVMs will be used during the voting and the height of voting compartments will be increased to 30 inches.

Identification of the voters at the polling booth at the time of poll shall be mandatory.

Vanessa Coleman