NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) announced on Thursday that polling will be held in Himachal Pradesh on November 9, but did not reveal the dates for Gujarat beyond saying that the election process in the state would be complete by December 18.
While the EC said the delay in announcing the Gujarat dates was to ensure that the state didn't have an unusually long period under the model code of conduct, Congress alleged "the reason is that the PM is visiting Gujarat next week as a false Santa Claus to announce sops and 'jumlas' that he did not implement for 22 years".
The date for the Himachal election was influenced by weather conditions as winter sets in early in the hill state while the Gujarat poll could not be advanced beyond a point as the assembly term runs till January 22. The voters and political parties in HP will have to wait around 40 days after polling till results are announced on December 18. The term of the state assembly is till January 7, but weather was a key factor in deciding the polling date.
tHE Congress accused the Centre of "putting pressure" on the Election Commission (EC) to delay announcement of the Gujarat assembly poll dates. Congress's Randeep Surjewala said, "Did the EC not announce the Gujarat election because PM Narendra Modi is going there on the 16th and if he went after the imposition of the code of conduct he would have gone there as just a campaigner and would not have been able to make his populist announcements. Can EC yield to such pressure? Does it set the right precedent? The EC needs to respond and clarify."