Maharashtra, Haryana to go to polls on Oct 21

Maharashtra, Haryana to go to polls on Oct 21

CEC Sunil Arora (C) (Photo by PTI)

The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday announced a single-phase Assembly polls for Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21.

The votes will be counted on October 24 and the results are expected on the same day, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told journalists at a press conference. 

The EC also announced bypolls for 64 Assembly constituencies in 18 states and the Lok Sabha constituency of Samastipur in Bihar. These constituencies will go to polls on October 21 and the counting would take place on October 24.

The terms of the current state Assemblies in Haryana and Maharashtra will end on November 2 and 9 respectively. 

The EC, however, did not declare the schedule of the elections for Jharkhand, where the term of the current Assembly ends on December 27.

“If the leader of the House there (in Jharkhand) wants to dissolve the assembly and advance the elections, then it is a separate matter. But why should the commission want to advance it?” asked Arora. He was replying to a question on why the EC was not holding state assembly polls in Jharkhand with that in Maharashtra and Haryana.

The CEC reaffirmed the credibility of the EVMs and underlined that while some of the machines had failed to function due to “mechanical, structural or physical defect”, they had never recorded any “wrong vote”.

The EC will send two special Expenditure Observers to Maharashtra and make special security arrangements in the areas affected by Maoist insurgency.

The CEC was asked if the poll panel would restrict political parties from referring to Modi government’s recent decisions on Jammu and Kashmir during the campaign. “Article 370 is a decision taken by the Parliament of India. The only place where it can be challenged is the honourable Supreme Court of India,” replied Arora.

The assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana, as well as the bypolls in the 64 assembly constituencies, are going to be the first battle of ballots after the parliamentary elections, which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the BJP to a landslide victory.