The Election Commission of India on Monday announced the schedule for Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that Mizoram will go to polls on November 7, while Madhya Pradesh will vote on November 17 and Rajasthan on November 23. The elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17, whereas Telangana will vote on November 30.

The counting of votes in all the five states will take place on December 3.

A total of 8.2 crore male and 7.8 crore female voters, which is a sixth of the total voters in the country, will cast their votes in the elections, said Kumar. Voters will be able to update their details in the voter roll from October 17 to November 30.

The five states will have 1.77 lakh polling stations, out of which, 1.01 lakh stations will have webcasting facilities. Over 8,000 stations will be managed by women.

The results of the Assembly polls in the five states are being seen as a prelude to the Lok Sabha elections set to take place next year.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power even though the Congress had formed the government after the 2018 polls. The Congress had won 114 seats out of 230, while the BJP secured 109 seats. The government led by Congress leader Kamal Nath collapsed in March 2020 as 22 MLAs resigned after Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP.

In Rajasthan, the Congress won 99 seats out of 200 in 2018 polls. It went on to form the government with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the support of Independent MLAs. The BJP managed to get 73 seats. However, the Rajasthan unit of the Congress has been rattled due to a pitched battle between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Tonk MLA Sachin Pilot.

In July 2020, Pilot along with 19 party MLAs of Rajasthan had rebelled against the Congress leadership. Pilot demanded that he be made the chief minister. Following this, he was removed from the posts of deputy chief minister and state Congress president.

In May, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal said that both the leaders have left all issues among them to be resolved by the party’s high command and have agreed to fight the Assembly elections unitedly. But tensions persist as Pilot and his supporters have questioned Gehlot and his administration with more zeal than even the BJP.

In Chhattisgarh, the Congress won 68 out of 90 seats in the Assembly polls in 2018, while the BJP got 15 seats. The Congress has promised to conduct caste surveys in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan if it is voted back to power.

In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samiti, the BJP and the Congress will be contesting Assembly polls for 119 seats. The Bharat Rashtra Samiti won 88 out of 119 seats in the last election in 2018, while Congress secured 19 seats.

In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front won 26 out of 40 Assembly seats in 2018. The Congress had secured five seats while the BJP won a single seat. The Mizo National Front is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

J&K polls will be held at ‘right time’, says EC

Responding to a question about when elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, Kumar said that the decision will be taken at the “right time” keeping in mind the security situation and other polls to be held in the Union Territory.

Whenever Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are held next, they will be the first ones after the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated and it was split into two Union Territories in August 2019.

In February 2020, the Union government started the delimitation process – or redrawing boundaries – of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. On May 5, 2022, the number of Assembly seats was increased from 83 to 90 in the final delimitation order.