Elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Arunachal on Oct 13

New Delhi, Aug 31 (Inditop.com) The three Congress-ruled states of Haryana, Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh will elect new assemblies Oct 13 in the first popularity test after the April-May Lok Sabha elections.

The Election Commission said the results of the single-phase balloting will be known Oct 22.

Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said the date of polling was decided after studying climatic conditions, academic schedules, festivals, law and order condition and availability of central police forces.

Chawla, flanked by Election Commissioners S.Y. Quraishi and V.S. Sampath, told a press conference that the date of issue of notification was Sep 18, the last date for nominations Sep 25 and the last date for withdrawal was Sep 29.

Arunachal Pradesh has a 60-member assembly. The Maharashtra legislature has 288 seats and Haryana 90. There will be 82,028 polling stations in Maharashtra, 12,894 in Haryana and 2,061 in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Oct 13 contest will be the first electoral battle in India since the Congress retained power in the Lok Sabha elections of April-May

The main contenders for power in Maharashtra will be the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on the one hand and the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the other.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and BJP, having parted ways, will separately take on the Congress in Haryana. The Congress is the dominant political force in Arunachal Pradesh.

Chawla said: “The model code of conduct comes into effect immediately. All the provisions of the model code will apply to the whole of the states and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties, the state and the central governments.”

He warned candidates and political parties against using religion to woo voters.

“There shall be no appeal (on) caste or communal (lines). Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship will not be used for election propaganda,” he said.

The term of assemblies in Arunachal Pradesh and Maharashtra are due to expire Oct 25 and Nov 3 respectively. The Haryana assembly was dissolved Aug 21.

The state elections would be conducted using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Asked about complaints against EVMs during the Lok Sabha election, Chawla said: “The EVMs are working well.”

Chawla said that central police forces and state armed police drawn from other states would be deployed during the polling along with observers for the smooth conduct of elections.

“The commission expects all officials engaged in the conduct of elections to discharge their duties in an impartial manner,” he said.