Maharashtra, Haryana assembly polls on Oct 21, results three days later
With the announcement the model code of conduct sets in both the states. There are a 1,81, 91,228 voters in Haryana and 8,94,46,211 voters in Maharashtra. Both states have a lakh service voters each.
The states of Maharashtra and Haryana would go to polls on October 21, a day on which bypolls will also be held for 64 assembly constituencies across the country as well as the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, the Election Commission (EC) announced Saturday.
The counting for both the states will be done on October 24 and the entire electoral process completed before October 27.
The term of the present Haryana Assembly expires on November 2 while that of Maharashtra Assembly is due to expire on November 9, said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, flanked by election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, at a press conference at Nirvachan Sadan in Delhi.
A total of 90 assembly constituencies, out of which 17 are reserved for the scheduled castes, will go to polls in Haryana. In Maharashtra, 288 assembly, seats of which 29 are reserved for scheduled castes and 25 for scheduled tribes, will go to polls.
With the announcement, the model code of conduct sets in both the states. There are a 1,81, 91,228 voters in Haryana and 8,94,46,211 voters in Maharashtra. Both states have a lakh service voters each.
The number of polling stations in Haryana has been increased from 16,244 five years ago to 19,425 in 2019. In Maharashtra, the number has been increased from 90,403 to 95,473, Arora said.
The EC will use Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), at every polling station in Haryana and Maharashtra. A total of 27,000 VVPAT machines in Haryana and another 1.39 lakh in Maharashtra would be used.
The maximum limit of election expenses for both states is Rs 28 lakh and all candidates are required to furnish details within 30 days of declaration of results.
Arora said detailed norms had been put in place for the use of social media in the elections. Since social media is also electronic media by definition. All political advertisement on social media will also require pre-certification from media certification and monitoring committees.
Provisions of model code of conduct will be applicable to social media content while all expenditure in online campaigning will also be factored in. The social media platforms themselves came up with a voluntary code of ethics before the Lok Sabha polls, he said.
“I think barring rare exceptions, we did not have any cases in which a communal riot was started or any such thing because of social media,” he said, adding there could be examples of criticism sober or even virulent.
Candidates with criminal antecedents will have to publish information in this regard through newspapers and TV channels on three occasions during the campaign period. Arora said that some political parties had expressed reservations on these expenses in view of the expenditure limit. He said the commission was exploring if the expenses can be put in party account. The commission would look into the matter on Monday, he said.
The CEC also said that two special observers were being sent to Maharashtra. Arora further added that political parties in Maharashtra had expressed the desire that the exercise is finished before Dhanteras.
The Commission has also decided that there will be one polling station in each assembly constituency in both Haryana and Maharashtra that will be managed exclusively by women.
Of the bypolls to Assembly constituencies, 15 would be held in Karnataka. The outcome could be crucial in the state which has seen a bout of instability in recent times. Asked if the byelections were for those disqualified, Arora said they too were included.
Eleven assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, one in Telangana, two in Tamil Nadu, three in Sikkim, two in Rajasthan, four in Punjab, five in Kerala, four in Gujarat, five in Bihar and four in Assam are among 64 constituencies that will see bypolls.
In addition, the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat will also go to polls on October 21.
On the question of holding simultaneous elections to states and the Centre, he said the issue was discussed but there was consensus on it yet.
Responding to questions on elections in Jharkhand and Delhi, Arora said there was still time in the completion of the term of these assemblies and there was no need for the EC to advance poll dates in these states.
He appealed to parties to avoid using plastic keeping environment in mind. Special arrangements will be made in left wing extremism affected areas, he said. Speaking about the Lok Sabha elections, Arora said 99 % of the complaints were addressed within 48 hours.
On a question about VVPATs, he said during the Lok Sabha polls, there were a few instances of variations but the media had highlighted them. In percentage terms it was negligible, but we send special teams in each case to ensure even that does not happen, he said.