Polls in 5 states from Feb 4

7-phase polling in UP, results on March 11

Polls in 5 states from Feb 4

Assembly polls will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur between February 4 and March 8, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, will vote in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.

Goa and Punjab will go to the polls in a single phase on February 4 and Uttarakhand on February 15.

Manipur voters will exercise their franchise in two phases on February 4 and 8. Over 16.80 crore people are eligible to cast their vote.

The results will be declared in all the five states on March 11. Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat announced the poll schedule at a press conference in Nirvachan Sadan here.

Zaidi told journalists that the Election Commission was examining whether the proposed presentation of the Union Budget by the government on February 1 would violate the model code of conduct, which came into force in all the five states soon after the schedule was announced.

First big test post note ban
The Assembly elections in the five states will be the first major test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi following his decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8.

More than 13.85 crore people are expected to cast their votes in 403 Assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh in seven phases on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 27 and March 4 and 8. Polling for the 40 Assembly seats in Goa and 117 in Punjab will be held on February 4. Nearly 10.85 lakh people are to cast votes in Goa.

Punjab has about 1.92 crore voters.

Over 7.38 lakh voters would exercise their franchise in the 70 Assembly constituencies in Uttarakhand on February 15. There are about 18 lakh voters in Manipur.

The forthcoming elections are also the first major ones after the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that “religion, race, caste, community or language would not be allowed to play any role in the electoral process”. Zaidi said the legal department of the Election Commission would shortly frame instructions to implement the apex court order.

The BJP is in power in Goa, while its ally Shiromani Akali Dal leads the ruling coalition in Punjab where the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are the principal challengers to the BJP and SAD.

The BJP shunned its ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in Goa, where the Congress is trying to pose a challenge to the ruling party.

The AAP is also trying to make its presence felt in Goa.

The Congress is in power in Uttarakhand, where the BJP is the principal Opposition party.
The BJP is trying to wrest power from the Congress in Manipur.

The feud within the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has raised hopes of the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress for a better performance in the upcoming polls.

Both factions of the Samajwadi Party – one led by the party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other by his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav – submitted their applications to the Election Commission on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, staking a claim for the party’s election symbol – bicycle.

The Chief Election Commissioner told the media that the issue was under the consideration of the poll panel and it would take a call on it at an appropriate time.

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