Different dates for Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections is EC’s missed opportunity to try simultaneous polls

By | October 12, 2017

The Election Fee belied preliminary expectations by not saying dates for Gujarat Meeting election on Thursday. It was considered one of its type press convention by the Chief Election Commissioner the place the fee selected to not announce dates for one state (Gujarat) and announce dates just for the different state (Himachal Pradesh) the place the elections have been in any other case to be held concurrently.

What makes Election Fee’s transfer much more attention-grabbing is the schedule for Himachal Pradesh elections — whereas 68 seats of the hill state will go to the polls on 9 November, the ballot outcomes wouldn’t be declared in a rush. The state should wait for an additional 39 days (till December 18) to know who wins and who loses, whether or not it will be BJP or Congress ruling the state for the following 5 years.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational picture. Firstpost

5 years in the past, when the elections in these two states Gujarat and Himachal have been held, the Election Fee on three October 2012, had introduced ballot schedule for each the states in a single in the past. Whereas a single section election was held in Himachal on four November 2012, Gujarat underwent two-phased election on 13 December and 17 December; the outcomes for each the states have been declared on 20 December.

This time round, nonetheless, the Election Fee in its collective knowledge determined to separate the announcement of ballot schedule for these two states. The massive query is why is the Election Fee now doing it otherwise.

Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti’s response was amusing.  He mentioned that in a letter to the Election Fee, the Gujarat authorities had requested for added time because the aid and rehabilitation work following July floods was but to be accomplished correctly. For the reason that roads in elements of the state have been washed out, the rehabilitation work may start solely in September and thus the state searched for some extra time for the announcement of the ballot schedule and mannequin code of conduct coming into pressure.

Joti’s response is attention-grabbing. The mannequin code of conduct solely restricts the state and the central authorities from making new bulletins that would affect the citizens within the state involved, it doesn’t put any restriction on work already in progress.

What makes the EC’s transfer much more curious is the truth that now the nation is aware of (properly, virtually) when would the outcomes for the Gujarat election be introduced. It could possibly be 18 December when Himachal Pradesh ballot outcomes are introduced and thus the election in Gujarat (to be carried out in two phases) could possibly be anytime between 10 to 16 December. Bear in mind, Himachal would have a lame duck authorities for round a month-and-half and that could possibly be with none motive apart from the logic that the early announcement of outcomes for Himachal may affect Gujarat polls.

It will be weird on a part of the Election Fee, if it so chooses, to separate the counting of votes for these two states. If that occurs, it will once more be considered one of its type choice, a minimum of within the current a long time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to Gujarat on 16  and 17 October and it’s now anticipated that the Election Fee may announce the ballot schedule for the state instantly after Diwali.

Final week, the Election Fee had made a shock announcement that by September 2018, the fee can be logistically succesful to carry the simultaneous elections for all Indian states Assemblies and the Parliament. The query now arises is: if the EC is mulling simultaneous elections in instances to come back why did it look the different means provided that it had the chance to have simultaneous polls in a minimum of few states, whose phrases finish in a succession of two months time.

Take into account the state of affairs — Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Meeting time period will get over virtually across the similar time; Himachal Pradesh Meeting time period ends on 7 January 2018 and the Gujarat Meeting time period ends on 22 January.

Instantly after Gujarat and Himachal elections are over (outcomes are introduced and governments are fashioned), the Election Fee would announce the ballot schedule for 3 different states – Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura. Which means that aside from a spot of 10-15 days (from the tip of December 2017 to the first week of January 2018), the mannequin code of conduct can be in pressure from now onwards till the tip of February and early March 2018. The phrases of the assemblies in these three north-eastern states finish within the first and second week of March 2018.

Modi has been, for fairly a while, advocating simultaneous Meeting and Parliament polls. That was the precise time to make a small starting in that path if the bigger purpose is to be achieved in the end.

However here’s a state of affairs when neither the Election Fee nor the Modi authorities selected to take a step ahead in that path. The numerous election dates and Mannequin Code of Conduct stretching for 5 months (October to February) imply two issues: first, the highest political leaders of ruling BJP can be largely occupied in campaigning, and second, every time the federal government broadcasts a brand new scheme or undertaking, the opposition events would attempt to create an argument alleging violation of the Mannequin Code of Conduct.

Final time, the election course of in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had bought over on 20 December 2012, and, on 11 January 2013, the Election Fee had introduced the ballot schedule for Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

October 12 must be taken as a date of missed alternative within the Election Fee’s calendar when it did not dwell as much as the simultaneous ballot hype created by it and by the prime minister.

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