The Election Commission on Wednesday announced the dates and phases of elections for five states—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. The battle for Uttar Pradesh will begin on 11 February. It will span seven phases with the last round to be held on 8 March.
The Uttar Pradesh polls will be held along with assembly elections in four other states. All the assembly constituencies in the states of Goa and Punjab will go to the polls on 4 February. Elections will be held in Uttarakhand on 15 February.
The 60 assembly constituencies in Manipur will go to polls in two phases, with 38 constituencies on 4 March and 22 constituencies on 8 March.
Counting of votes in all the five states will be held on 11 March.
Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi also said that “Candidates will be required to open accounts in their banks. Money more than the said amount will be removed from the account. If the channels are seen campaigning for their candidates then money will be deducted from their expenditure money.”
The Election Commission also announced that political parties will be required to file their account statements within 30 days of the declaration of results. The Model Code of Conduct would come into effect immediately.
The election will witness a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand. At present, the NDA is in power in Goa and Punjab, while Congress is ruling in Uttarakhand.
The poll schedule announcement comes a day after the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) recommended holding the first half of the Budget session from 31 January to 9 February.
The term of the Uttar Pradesh assembly ends on 27 May. In the other four states, it expires in March.
The CEC also announced that the height of the voting compartment would also be raised to 30 inches this time.