The Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9, and votes will be counted on December 18, the Election Commission of India announced on Thursday. The commission did not announce dates for the Gujarat elections, though it said they will be held before votes are counted.

The Congress currently governs Himachal Pradesh, which has a 68-seat strong Assembly.

For the first time in Himachal Pradesh, 136 women will manage booths, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti said. Closed-circuit television cameras will be set up in all the 7,521 polling stations.

The Election Voting Machines will be attached with VVPATs. The height of voting compartments will be increased to 30 inches from the current 24 inches, Joti said.

The Model Code of Conduct has now come into effect in the state, the commissioner said. Besides the state government, the model code of conduct will also apply to the Centre in terms of announcements of programmes and schemes.

Even before the dates were revealed, the parties began campaigning in the states and trading barbs. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will lead the Congress in the state once again if voted back to power.

Gujarat Assembly elections

The Election Commission on Thursday did not announce the schedule for the Assembly elections in Gujarat. However, Joti said polls in Gujarat will be held before December 18 so that the outcome of Himachal Pradesh’s elections does not affect the voters in Gujarat.