The Election Commission on Wednesday announced that Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will all hold their Assembly elections in February and March. The counting dates for all states is March 11. Here are the specific dates for each state:
- Goa (40 seats): Elections on February 4 in a single phase.
- Punjab (117 seats): Elections on February 4 in a single phase.
- Uttarakhand (71 seats): Elections on February 15 in a single phase.
- Manipur (60 seats): Polls will be held in two phases on March 4 and March 8.
- Uttar Pradesh (403 seats): Polls will be held in seven phases – February 11, February 15, February 19, February 23, February 27, March 4 and March 8.
Other key announcements
The model code of conduct has come into effect in all the poll-bound states starting immediately, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said. The five states have nearly 16 crore eligible voters, and almost 100% of them have voter ID cards, the elections regulator said. The states will have a total of 1.85 lakh polling stations.
The commission announced several measures to ease polling, including voter assistance booths at every polling station, voting guides, posters for voting dos and don’ts, special booths for women and facilities for the differently abled. Electronic voting machines will be used in all the states.
Further, the EC set an election expenditure cap for each candidate at Rs 28 lakh for UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand and at Rs 20 lakh for Manipur and Goa. It advised against using black money and environmentally unsafe products in campaigns and urged candidates to keep noise pollution to a minimum.
In the past
The polling regulator had earlier planned seven phases for the elections in Uttar Pradesh and single phases in the other states. However, there was speculation that Manipur would be given multiple phases given the deteriorating law and order in the state.
Ahead of announcing the election dates, the EC had held meetings with the chief electoral officers of the five poll-bound states on Wednesday morning. They discussed the general state of law and order, the deployment of polling personnel as well as the strict implementation of the model of code of conduct.
The Home Ministry will deploy around 85,000 security personnel during the polls. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had said the government would provide 750 companies of paramilitary forces and 100 companies of the State Armed Police Force. Indian Reserve Battalions will also be stationed for election duties.