The Assembly elections in five states are announced in India. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram will go to polls on different days from November 7-30. The votes for the five states will be counted on December 3, the Election Commission said on Monday, setting the stage for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
After the annoucement, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released a list of candidates for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh polls.
Nearly 16 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes in these elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said at a press conference. These five states will have 8.2 crore male and 7.8 crore female voters, while there will be 60.2 lakh first-time voters.
Kumar also asserted that strong measures will be taken to make these polls inducement-free. This will be the last set of assembly elections ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Voting for all 40 assembly seats in Mizoram and 20 seats of the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh will take place in November. The remaining 70 seats in Chhattisgarh will go to polls on November 17 along with all 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh. Voting for 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan will be on November 23, while the 119-member Telangana Assembly polls are scheduled on November 30.
Currently, the Congress is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, whereas Madhya Pradesh is ruled by BJP. Telangana is governed by Bharat Rashtra Samithi, and Mizoram by Mizo National Front (MNF).
Mizoram Congress has urged EC to change the date for counting of votes. The counting day i.e. 3 December is a Sunday, when people attend church services in the Christian-majority state.
"We know that not only the Congress party, but the entire Christian community in Mizoram would not like the counting of votes to be held on Sunday," Mizoram Congress President Lalsawta mentioned in the letter sent to Election Commision.
Kumar said these five states will have 1.77 lakh polling stations, of which 1.01 lakh will have webcasting facilities. The Election Commission (EC) has given a special emphasis on making electoral rolls inclusive. The focus will also be on roll-to-poll or ensuring that all voters come to vote.
While there is almost a month to go for polls, political leaders have started targeting each other. Congress MP Randeep Surjewala said "People in all these five states will take the BJP out of power and prove that a huge change will come in the country in 2024. 8.5 crore people in Madhya Pradesh are ready to remove BJP. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is tired and retired".
On the other hand, BJP leader Om Mathur said, "The BJP has done maximum work in the Chhattisgarh state, both politically and technically, in the last year keeping the elections in mind. We welcome the election schedule and the BJP will certainly form a government (in Chhattisgarh) with a complete majority".
For the first time, a new Election Seizure Management System is being introduced for the assembly polls to enhance oversight to ensure inducement-free elections. A total of 940 checkposts have been put in place for a strict vigil along interstate borders and to dry up the inflow of illicit liquor, cash, freebies, and drugs.
There will be zero tolerance for the use of money power and there will be a strict vigil over suspicious online cash transfers through wallets as well, the EC said.
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