The elections to the 68-seat Himachal Assembly will be held in a single phase on November 12, the Election Commission said on Friday. The result will be announced on December 8.

The poll body, however, did not announce the dates for the Gujarat assembly election.

Source: The Election Commission of India.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that the tenure of the Himachal government ends on January 8.

He added that there are 55.07 lakh registered voters in the state, and out of these 1.86 lakh residents will cast their vote for the first time.

“The elections have to be free, fair, inclusive, accessible,” Kumar said. “The voting experience has to be comfortable and hassle-free.”

On a question regarding why the poll body did announce the schedule in Gujarat, Kumar said that various factors such as a model code of conduct, gap in qualifying dates and weather were considered behind the decision.

“We do not want the entire election process to continue for a very long period,” he said. “Announcement of multiple state polls leads to longer wait in the declaration of results for some.”

Social media monitoring during elections

The Election Commission on Friday said it will constantly monitor social media platforms for fake news during the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls and respond immediately – even take criminal action wherever required, PTI reported.

“They [teams] all have been directed to respond immediately before its gets the traction...,” Kumar said. “It becomes explosive. And if 30 minutes have gone then there is no point in answering this because damage is done. They have all been asked to be very very vigilant and respond with facts.”

The commission has also requested all political parties and candidates to ensure that their supporters “do not indulge in hate speeches and fake news”.