The Election Commission today issued a clarification on why the Gujarat poll schedule announcement for the upcoming assembly elections were delayed and dismissed all allegations of any kind of partiality.
“We announced the election dates 110 days ahead of the expiry of the Gujarat assembly. And there will be a 72 days’ gap between the counting of the result and the expiry of the assembly in Gujarat. We are quite in advance," Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said.
“We have to balance lots of thing before announcement of dates. Several factors including availability of forces, whether conditions among several other factors must be considered before poll dates are announced," Rajiv Kumar said after several questions were raised as to why the poll body delayed the announcement of the Gujarat election dates.
While listing out several factors for the delay in Gujarat poll date announcement, the CEC said, “Recently a very tragic incident occurred there (Morbi), which was one of the reasons why we delayed. Also, there was state mourning in the state yesterday; so like we said, there are multiple factors for the delay."
The CEC head also said there the poll body has not violated any rule in Gujarat poll dates announcement.
The Congress has maintained that dates for Gujarat assembly polls were not announced along with Himachal Pradesh just to give the ruling BJP more time to make “mega promises and inaugurations."
The Election commission also alleged that the is an ongoing attempt to create a negative atmosphere ahead of polls and that the poll body is aware of it. “We are 100% impartial," the CEC chief asserted.
Voting for the Gujarat Assembly election will take place in two phases. Polling for the first phase will take place on December 1 and for the second phase on December 5. The counting of votes will occur on December 8 alongside counting for Himachal Polls.
Of the total 182 assembly seats in Gujarat, voting for 89 seats will be held on December 1 and the balance 93 seats on December 5.
Gujarat has a 182-member assembly and the BJP had pulled off its sixth consecutive victory winning 99 seats in the last polls, while the Congress put up a spirited fight by bagging 77 seats. In percentage terms, the BJP had polled 49.05 per cent of the valid votes, while Congress had polled 42.97 per cent.
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