NEW DELHI: Over 16 crore people will vote in this year’s assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Manipur and Goa – the Election Commission said while announcing the poll dates.
Here’s how it stacks up:-
a) Goa to go on polls on February 4
b) Punjab to face vote on February 4
c) Uttarakhand February 15
d) Manipur (2 phases) March 4 and 8
e) Uttar Pradesh (7 phases) 1st phase Feb 11, 2nd phase Feb 15, 3rd phase Feb 19
EC also laid out directives before the polls, these include:
1) The limit for expenses for candidates is Rs 28 lakh for UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rs 20 lakh for Manipur and Goa.
2) EC will focus on paid news. Press Council of India will help the commission in detection of paid news
3) There will be strict expenditure monitor mechanism to curb black money
4) Model code of conduct comes into effect
5) All five states to go into elections at one go
Uttrakhand has 70 assembly seats and the outgoing Congress government is being led by Harish Rawat.
The biggest battle would be fought in Uttar Pradesh which will see a multi-polar fight between BJP, BSP, SP and Congress. The state has 403 assembly seats.
Punjab is yet another crucial state where Aam Aadmi Party is trying to spread its base. The current SAD-BJP government has been dogged by many controversies. It is among few states where Congress seems quite strong.
Congress will also try to make a comeback in Goa which it lost to BJP last time. AAP is also looking strong in the state but only time will tell who will rule the state.
Congress will also try to make a comeback in Manipur.