The Election Commission on Saturday announced the dates for Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls. According to the Election Commission, the states of Maharashtra and Haryana will go to polls on October 21. The counting of the votes will take place on October 24. Haryana has 1.82 crore registered voters and Maharashtra has 8.94 crore voters, the EC said. The issue of notification deadline for Maharashtra and Haryana is September 27, while the last date of filing nomination is October 4 and the last date to withdraw nomination is October 7. The 5-year term of the Legislative Assemblies of Haryana and Maharashtra expires on 2nd November and 9th November. The Model Code of Conduct will come into force after the announcement of the poll dates.
The upper limit for expenditure on the election campaign is Rs 28 lakh for each candidate, Election Commission chief Sunil Arora announced.
Special security arrangements will be made for LWE affected areas in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Maharashtra.
By-elections to the 64 constituencies across Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Meghalaya, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh will also be held on October 21; counting of votes will take place on October 24, the poll panel chief announced.
At present, all three states going to polls are ruled by the BJP. The term of the Haryana Legislative Assembly ends on November 2, whereas the term of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly expires on November 9. The Jharkhand Legislative Assembly’s tenure is slated to end on December 27. The poll panel is likely to release the poll results before Diwali that will be celebrated on October 27. In 2014, the Election Commission had announced five-phase elections between November 25 and December 20 in Jharkhand. Results were declared on December 23.
The Manohar Lal Khattar government is aiming to increase it tally from 47 to 75 in the 90-member Haryana State Assembly. Whereas in Maharashtra, the Devendra Fadnavis government is eying to go beyond 2014 tally of 200. In alliance with the Shiv Sena, the BJP will aim for better verdict in the 288-member Maharashtra State Assembly.
In 2014, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra for the first time and won 122 seats in the 288-member strong Assembly. The party received 1,47,09,276 votes, i.e. 27.8 per cent of the votes. The Shiv Sena, who contested the elections alone, came second with just 63 seats and a share of 19.4 per cent votes. The Sena received 1,02,35,970 votes. The Congress and the NCP also contested the polls separately and won 42 and 41 seats respectively. Congress was able to garner only 18 per cent of the votes (94,96,095 votes) in the entire state, whereas the NCP was restricted to just 17.2 per cent of votes (91,22,285 votes). The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) won only a single seat and received just 3.15 per cent of votes.