New Delhi, Oct 6: The Election Commission on Saturday announced the dates for the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram Assembly elections.
While Chhattisgarh will go to the polls in two phases on November 12 and 20, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram elections will be held on November 28 and in Rajasthan and Telangana will be held on December 7, the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. OP Rawat, had announced.
Counting of votes will be held on December 11, he said.
He said the poll code in these states would be enforced with immediate effect.
There was a controversy after the Election Commission postponed its scheduled press conference to announce the election dates with the Congress alleging that the EC postponed the presser to facilitate the Prime Minister's rally in Rajasthan. The Commission denied the allegation as baseless.
The BJP and the Congress will face head on in MP (230 seats), Rajasthan (200) and Chhattisgarh (90), where the BJP is in power while in Telangana (119) the ruling TRS is seeking a second term. In Mizoram (40) Congress is the ruling party.
The BJP has been in power in MP and Chhattisgarh for three terms running while in Rajasthan power had alternated between the two national parties every election.
The Model Code of Conduct comes into force with immediate effect in four states while in Telangana it has already been in force from the date of dissolution of the Assembly last month.
In Chhattisgarh, where the Commission decided to go for two phases in view of the maoist problem, voting will be held in the most affected areas of the 18 constituencies in the southern part on November 12 and in the remaining 72 seats, on November 20.
Notification for the first phase will be issued on October 16 and the last date for nominations would be October 23. Scrutiny will take place next day and the last date for the withdrawal of the nominations will be October 26.
The notification in the rest of the 72 constituencies in the second phase would be issued on October 26, while the last day for nominations would be November 2. Scrutiny will be done on November 3 and the last date for the withdrawal will be November 5. The tenure of the Chhattisgarh Assembly comes to an end on January 5.
In MP and Mizoram, the notification will be issued on November 2 while the last date for nominations would be November 9, scrutiny will be done on November 12 and last date of withdrawal November 14.
In Rajasthan and Telangana, which will go to the polls in a single phase on December 7, the notification will be issued on November 12 and the last date for filing nominations will be November 19. Scrutiny will take place on November 20 while the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be November 22. The term of the Rajasthan Assembly expires on January 20.
The Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader, Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao dissolved the house last month,- nearly nine months before its term.
Asked about the criticism over the rescheduling of the EC's press conference under pressure from Prime Minister to accommodate his election rally in Ajmer, Mr. Rawat said there was no pressure from anywhere.
'There would not have been a delay of two-three hours but for the problem relating to electoral rolls in Telangana,' he said. Parties were free to complain to the Commission if somebody got a concession.
'It is the duty of the Commission to satisfy all the stakeholders. We will hold free, fair and credible elections which is our commitment and compulsion,' he said.
Earlier, he had said politicians and political parties make criticism and the Commission has no comments to make on that.
To a question about the Commission declaring the schedule for Telangana without the full commission visiting the state, he said there was a problem about publication of the final electoral roll for which the date has been fixed as October 12 and there was a hearing before the High Court on the issue. Also the elections in the state have been fixed at the fag end of the current schedule so that there was time to rectify any problem.
Mr. Rawat said a team of Election Commission officials had visited the state and held detailed discussions. The EC was satisfied and 'that is why we have announced the schedule'.
The CEC said the Electronic Voting Machies(EVMs) and Voter Varifiabled Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) will be used in the current round of elections for which arrangements have been made to ensure their adequate number.