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Himachal goes to poll on Nov 9; Guj poll announcement shortly: EC

Himachal goes to poll on Nov 9; Guj poll announcement shortly: EC

New Delhi, Oct 12 (UNI) Assembly elections in the hill state of Himachal Pradaesh will be held on November 9, and results will be declared on December 18, the Election Commission announced here today but held back the much awaited dates of polls for Gujarat. However, the announcement of the polls for the western state will be coming shortly, Election Commissioner AK Joti said at a press conference here while replying to a volley of questions on why the dates for the state Assembly were not announced simultaneously with that of Himachal Praedesh, whereas term of the Assemblies in both states was expiring in January with a short gap. He said polling in Gujarat will be completed before December 18, when the Himachal election results will be out, so that poll outcome in the hill state did not influence voting pattern in Gujarat. Mr Joti dismissed the suggestions from a questioner that the poll dates for Gujarat were held back to give more time to the ruling BJP to announce developmental projects, which would not be possible if the model code of conduct comes into force once the elections are announced. The Chief Election Commissioner said there were multiple reasons for going for polls earlier in Himachal and holding them later in Gujarat. Because of the chances of snow fall in high altitude places of Himachal in mid November, polls had to be completed by that period, and in the case of Gujarat, one of the reasons for giving them more time, on their request, was that the state had faced devastating floods from which it was still recovering. The notification for Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls will be issued on October 16, and the last date for filing nominations was October 23. Scrutiny will be held next day and the deadline for withdrawing nominations was October 26. Polling will take place on November nine and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18. The whole elections exercise will be completed on December 20. EVMs with VVPATs will be used on all polling booths for 68 assembly seats in a full fledged way for the first time. Though EVMs with VVPATs were also used in the Goa elections held in February, but that was on a pilot basis, Mr Joti said. More UNI NAZ SHK 1823

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