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  India   All India  22 Sep 2019  BJP-ruled Maharashtra, Haryana will go to polls on October 21

BJP-ruled Maharashtra, Haryana will go to polls on October 21

Published : Sep 22, 2019, 4:12 am IST
Updated : Sep 22, 2019, 4:12 am IST

With BJP governments in power in both Maharashtra and Haryana, it is crucial for the party to retain these states.

Maharashra CM Devendra Fadnavis
 Maharashra CM Devendra Fadnavis

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday announced simultaneous state elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, along with bypolls to 64 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency. Polling will take place on October 21, and counting is scheduled for October 24.

The current tenure of Maharashtra legislative Assembly, which has 288 seats, ends on November 9, while the tenure of Haryana’s Assembly, which has 70 seats, ends on November 2.

Assembly polls in the two states are being considered important as these would be the first elections after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s massive victory in Lok Sabha polls under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With BJP governments in power in both Maharashtra and Haryana, it is crucial for the party to retain these states.

While Haryana will witness a three-cornered contest between the BJP, Congress and the JJP (Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party), Maharashtra will see a clash of alliances —
ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance versus Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine.

In Maharashtra, the Congress and the NCP have announced a seat sharing arrangement of contesting 125 seats each and leaving the rest for its smaller allies. The BJP and Shiv Sena are still in talks and yet to formally announce their seat sharing formula.

The BJP and Shiv Sena, which had not formed a pre-poll alliance but joined hands after the last Assembly results, had won 185 seats together. However, this time around there is hope in both the parties that a formal alliance would be announced soon.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is leading the party’s campaign in Maharashtra which was launched by Mr Modi with a rally in Nashik on Thursday.

In Haryana, the Congress seems to be engrossed in internal rivalries between various factions, while the BJP, under chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, is seemingly confident of returning to power. In the 2014 Haryana elections, the BJP won 47 seats, limiting the Congress to only 15.

The poll panel announced that the date of notification is September 27, last date of nomination is October 4, scrutiny will take place on 5 October while the last date of withdrawal of candidature is 7 October.

“The model code of conduct, which provides a level playing field in elections, comes into effect immediately with the announcement of the schedule,” chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said on Saturday.

Asked why elections to the Jharkhand Assembly were not being announced, Mr Arora said the term of the state Assembly there ends on January 9. “If the leader of the House there wants to dissolve the Assembly and advance the elections, then it is a separate matter. But why should the commission want to advance it,” he said.

While the Prime Minister has been speaking of holding simultaneous polls, the Chief Election Commissioner said that “unless there is a very clear consensus amongst the political parties on the issue, this cannot be taken as a given template.”

Bypolls to 64 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency spread across 18 states will also be held on October 21 and the counting of votes will take place on October 24, the EC announced on Saturday. While the lone Lok Sabha constituency to which elections will be held is Samastipur in Bihar, the Assembly seats going for bypolls include 15 in Karnataka and 11 in Uttar Pradesh.  

CEC Arora said the byolls in Karnataka include seats where sitting MLAs were disqualified recently. The 11 UP Assembly seats mostly belong to MLAs who had won Lok Sabha elections and had resigned as members of the state Assembly.

The Samastipur (Bihar) Lok Sabha by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting MP Ram Chandra Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party in July.

Responding to a question, Mr Arora said the bypoll to the Satara Lok Sabha seat will not be held along with the Maharashtra Assembly elections on October 21. Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale from Nationalist Congress Party recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party after resigning from the Lok Sabha.

Assembly bypolls in West Bengal are not being held now as the state government had cited Durga Puja festivities to postpone the exercise. They will also not be held in Uttarakhand now as panchayat elections are already underway and the state machinery is occupied with the exercise, Mr Arora said.

In some other seats, by-elections are not being held as respective high courts are hearing petitions and the matters are sub judice, he added.  

States where Assembly bypolls will be held are Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha and Puducherry (one seat each). The other states are Assam (4), Bihar (5), Gujarat (4), Himachal Pradesh (2), Kerala (5), Punjab (4), Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu (two each) and Sikkim (3). The notification for the Lok Sabha bypoll and 64 Assembly by-elections will be issued on September 23. The nomination process will begin the same day.

Tags: election commission, sunil arora