The dates for the crucial assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have been finalised and will be announced by the Election Commission on Wednesday.
The Commission finalised the schedule for the assembly polls in the two states in its full meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and attended by Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi and other officials in New Delhi on Wednesday morning, EC sources said.
The elections are likely to be held in November-December after giving due consideration to the festivals of Navratras and Diwali, they said.
The Gujarat elections are likely to be held in two phases, while those in Himachal Pradesh are expected to be conducted in a single phase. The commission has already held consultations with the home ministry for deployment of central security forces during the elections and with revenue officials for checking the misuse of money power.
More than 35,000 personnel from central paramilitary forces and around 55,000 from state police are likely to be deployed for the Gujarat polls. Around 9,000 personnel from paramilitary forces and 14,000 from state police are likely to be deployed for Himachal Pradesh elections.
Fearing use of money power in Gujarat, the Commission is engaged in identifying the number of 'expenditure sensitive' constituencies in Gujarat. Elections in the two states have to be held by January next as the terms of the current assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh end on January 17 and 10 respectively.While Gujarat has 182 assembly constituencies, 13 of which are reserved for SCs and 26 for STs, Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats, with 17 reserved for SCs and 3 for STs.