The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday announced election schedule for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh election.
While polling will be held on 9 November, counting of votes will be on 18 December.
With the announcement of the schedule, the model code of conduct will get implemented in both the states and will be effective till the process of election gets completed. The code deals with a guidance for general conduct of political parties during this duration to promote a level-playing field for polls.
In Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Virbhadra Singh-led Congress party is bracing to face a tough fight from the BJP, especially in the backdrop of Congress losing a series of assembly elections in north India since 2014.
Interestingly, assembly elections are also due in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has high stakes and is looking to retain power for a fifth term in a row. The party is being led by incumbent chief minister Vijay Rupani in the state.
While Himachal Pradesh will witness elections earlier than Gujarat, both the states will see a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP with a limited role for smaller parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat.
The elections, which are likely to be held over the next two months, would come almost at the same time as the winter session of Parliament and is likely to have an impact on it.
While campaign has already begun in both the states, Gujarat is already in a high-pitch poll mode with both Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi holding a series of public meetings and setting the stage for the upcoming polls.
In Himachal Pradesh, Congress won 36 out of the 68 seats with a vote share of 42.81%, while BJP won 26 seats with 38.47% vote share.
While the term of the current assembly in Himachal Pradesh ends on 7 January next year, that of Gujarat ends on 22 January next year.