The Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti said on Wednesday. The first phase in 89 constituencies across 19 districts will be held on December 9. The second phase in 93 constituencies across 14 districts will be held on December 14.

The counting of votes in the state will take take place along with Himachal Pradesh on December 18. The Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9.

The Model Code of Conduct has now come into effect in the state, and will also be applicable to the Union government, said Joti. The election commissioner said candidates will not be allowed to spend more than Rs 28 lakh each on campaigning.

Voting machines with paper trails, also known as VVPAT machines, will be used in the polling. Joti said 50,128 polling booths will be set up in the state, and that disabled voters will be given preference at booths. Women officials will be deployed to manage 182 police stations in the state.

The poll monitoring panel was criticised for not announcing the Gujarat dates when it had released dates for Himachal Pradesh’s polls. Opposition parties had also picked on this.

The commission usually announces dates for upcoming polls in multiple states simultaneously. The Congress had alleged that the commission is delaying announcing the dates so that the Bharatiya Janata Party could offer more schemes to the people in the state. The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect as soon as voting dates are announced, banning politicians from announcing freebies until elections are over.