Gujarat polls likely in two phases from Nov-end

Assembly Elections in Gujarat are likely to be held in two phases by the end of November and early December.

New Delhi: Assembly Elections in Gujarat are likely to be held in two phases by the end of November and early December for which an announcement will be made by the Election Commission next month.

The Assembly Elections in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh is likely to be held in a single-phase this time by early December, Commission sources said.

"The Commission may continue with the tradition of a two-phased polling in Gujarat, keeping in view the sensitivity of the state," the sources said.

The EC is currently holding deliberations with officials of the two states and other agencies before finalising the election schedule.

The Commission has already held discussions with the Home Ministry and it is expected that more than 35,000 personnel from central paramilitary forces and around 55,000 from state police will be deployed for forthcoming the Gujarat polls.

Around 9,000 personnel from paramilitary forces and 14,000 from state police are likely to be deployed for Himachal Pradesh polls.

The EC has also held a meeting with Income Tax officials for monitoring the use of money power in Gujarat polls, where more expenditure observers will be deployed this time.

Fearing use of money power in Gujarat, the Commission is engaged in identifying the number of "expenditure sensitive" constituencies in Gujarat.

"We are currently in the process of identifying such constituencies in Gujarat where it is feared that money power may be used to influence the voters," said the sources.

There are no such constituencies in Himachal but the Commission will continue to deploy expenditure observers there too to keep a check on the use of money power.

Elections in the two states are due by January next as the term of the current assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh ends on January 17 and 10 respectively.

While Gujarat has 182 assembly constituencies, 13 of which are reserved for SCs and 26 for STs, Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly constituencies, with 17 reserved for SCs and 3 for STs.


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