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Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections to be held on November 9

Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti along with Election Commissioners O.P. Rawat and Sunil Arora addressing the press conference in New Delhi on October 12, 2017.
Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti along with Election Commissioners O.P. Rawat and Sunil Arora addressing the press conference in New Delhi on October 12, 2017.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said general elections would be held in a single phase on November 9 to elect a new Legislative Assembly in Himachal Pradesh.
 
The term of the current legislative assembly  in the state is normally due to expire on January 7, 2018 and the Commission is required to hold elections to constitute the new assembly before expiry of its present term.
 
The notification for the elections would be issued on October 16 and the last date for filing nominations is October 23. Nominations will be scrutinised on October 24 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is October 26.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18 and all the results are expected by that evening.
 
Elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly are also due, but the Commission has not announced dates for them, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti told newspersons today that they would be held before December 18.
 
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 so that in no way the results of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat. We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat elections, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18," he said.
 
There are 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assemby, of which 17 are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and three for Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
In the last elections, the Congress had won 36 seats and the BJP 27. While five-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, is expected to be the Chief Minsiterial candidate of the Congress, the BJP is making a strong bid to return to power in the state.
 
The release said the electoral rolls of all the existing Assembly Constituencies in Himachal Pradesh are being revised, with reference to 01.01.2017 as the qualifying date. 
 
The total number of electors in the state, as per the final roll on September 15, 2017, is 49,05,677 (49.05 lakh). Photo electoral rolls will be used during the elections. The Commission will set up 7479 polling stations for the elections.
 
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The Commission has directed that, to the extent possible, all-women managed polling stations shall be set up in two polling stations for each Assembly constituency where the entire polling staff, including the police and security personnel, shall be women. A total of 136 women-managed polling stations will be set up in the state for the first time.
 
The poll in the state will be conducted at all polling stations using electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units.
 
As in recent elections, there will be a button below the name of the last candidate on the balloting unit for NOTA (None of the above) option so that electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option by pressing the button against NOTA. The Commission has provided a new symbol for the NOTA option, which was designed by National Institute of Design (NID). 
 
In  order  to help electors  in  identifying candidates,  the Commission has prescribed an additional measure by way of adding provision for printing the photograph of candidate also on the ballot to be displayed on the EVM (Ballot Unit) and on Postal Ballot Papers. This will also help avoid likely confusion when candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency. 
 
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