Model code of conduct enforced in Himachal Pradesh

Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election date

Making an exception to its normal practice, the EC announced that Gujarat Assembly election results will be declared on December 18 along with Himachal results. "ECI has instructed state governments to assist differently-abled voters and they have already procured 200 wheelchairs to assist those who may not be able to walk to polling stations".

A day after the opposition alleged that the Centre had used its heft to delay the Election Commission's (EC) announcement of the polling schedule for Gujarat, the government Friday rejected the charges.

"In a last-ditch effort to save itself from the thrashing which it will receive from the hands of the people of Gujarat in the forthcoming elections, the BJP has resorted to shameless pressure tactics on the EC and has most blatantly denigrated the authority and power of the Election Commission", he told reporters.

Each candidate will have to maintain a separate account of poll expenses, which have been capped at a maximum of Rs 28 lakh for Himachal Pradesh.

Defending the Commission's decision, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said that "several factors, and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed public meetings in Gujarat", were considered to defer the poll announcement on Gujarat.

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Since the terms of the Gujarat and the Himachal Pradesh assemblies are ending in January, it was expected that like in 2012, the poll schedule for the two states would be announced together. For example, it announced the polling dates for elections to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand on January 4. The EC didn't announce the date for the poll in Gujarat. Mr. Modi's visit to Gujarat next week creates a ground of suspicion and its unfortunate. In the last elections, the Congress had won 36 seats and the BJP 27.

"The imposition of Model Code with immediate effect would stop all government work and there was no need to prolong it beyond the required period", said Joti.

Citing an office memorandum by the Ministry of Law and Justice in April 2001, he said, "The model code of conduct should not extend beyond 46 days".

Joti, flanked by Election Commissioners O P Rawat and Sunil Arora, said the last date for filing of nominations for Himachal Pradesh is October 23.

But the Chief Election Commissioner has argued that this has meant a longer duration of the enforcement of the model code of conduct in Gujarat. This would enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, the CEC said.

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