New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday announced the schedule for Assembly polls to be held in five states early next year.
Flanked by Election Commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi announced that Uttar Pradesh will go to elections in seven phases, while assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will be held in a single-phase.
According to Quraishi, Uttar Pradesh, with 403 Assembly constituencies (85 reserved for SCs), will witness polling on February 4, 8, 11, 15, 19, 23 and 28. The seven-phased polling in Uttar Pradesh will be the longest in any state in the country so far.
Uttarakhand, with 70 constituencies (of which 13 are reserved for SCs and 2 for STs), will go to polls on January 30.
Punjab, with 117 constituencies (of which 34 are reserved), will witness polling in single phase on the same day.
Elections will be held in Goa, with 40 constituencies (of which only one is reserved for SC), on March 3. The north-eastern state Manipur, with 60 constituencies (of which one is reserved for SCs and 19 for STs), will go to polls on January 28.
The counting for all the states will be held together on March 4.
There will be seven separate notifications to be issued on January 10, 12, 16, 21, 25, 28 and February 2 for the seven phase polls in UP and nominations can be filed upto one week after the notification dates.
The date of notifications for polls in Punjab and Uttarakhand will be issued on January 5, while the notification will be issued on January 4 in Manipur for polls and February 6 for Goa.
While Uttar Pradesh has 11.19 crore electors as per draft publication, Punjab has 1.74 crore and Uttarakhand 57.4 lakh voters. Manipur has a total of 16.77 lakh voters and Goa has 10.12 lakh electors so far.
The maximum number of 1,28,112 polling stations will be set up in Uttar Pradesh, while Punjab will have 19,724 polling stations followed by 9,744 in Uttarakhand. Manipur will have 2,325 polling stations, while Goa will have a total of 1,612 stations.
The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect in all the five states and will also apply to the Central government.
Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used for polling in all five states. Photo-identity cards will be mandatory for identification of voters.
The Election Commission has set up a 24-hour call centre for redressal of complaints which can be registered either by calling at toll-free number 1950 or on the Election Commission website.
Quraishi also said that proper monitoring of polls would be carried out with appointment of general observers, election expenditure observers and micro-observers in all polling stations.
“The micro-observers, deployed in selected critical polling stations, will work in close coordination with general observers and will observe the proceedings at polling stations on poll days,” he said.
The CEC said that adequate central police forces and the state armed police personnel have been made available to the Election Commission for smooth conduct of elections.
The CEC said that electoral rolls in all assembly constituencies in the five poll-bound states are being revised, with reference to January 1, 2012 as the qualifying date and the same will be published on January 2.
“Election Commission will also ensure that misuse of black money and drugs during polls does not take place, for which the tax and narcotics surveillance machinery has been activated,” he said.
The Chief Election Commissioner said, “Polling parties will be formed randomly through special software and three-stage randomisation will be adopted to ensure that they do not know in advance at which polling booth they are deployed.”
The Election Commission has also modified the format for filing of affidavits regarding criminal backgrounds, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications of candidates to include a summary sheet this time.
The Election Commission has also banned the use of religious places for election campaigns for the assembly polls.
With PTI inputs