The much-awaited dates of Gujarat assembly election are finally announced. It will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14 respectively, the Election Commission (EC) announced on Wednesday. In phase 1, 89 Assembly constituencies will vote and remaining 93 will vote in phase 2. On December 18, counting of votes will take place. The chief election commissioner AK Joti said that both Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) and electronic voting machines will be used.
To “maintain secrecy in voting”, the height of the voting compartment has been increased from 24 to 30 inches. The CEC said that the maximum spending limit for each candidate has been fixed at Rs 28 lakh. Out of total 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, 102 will be entirely operated by women. The election commission came under fire for delaying the announcement of elections in Gujarat. The Congress, on the other hand, accused the EC and the BJP of ‘plotting’ to allegedly postponement the Assembly elections in the state. They claimed that the Gujarat election dates weren’t announced to give PM Modi and his party enough time to last-minute “sops” to woo voters.
CEC Joti, on the other hand, defended the delay and said that it ensured the state did not spend a long period under the MCC as there was “no justification” for it. He also added that the Gujarat government had told the election commission that it needed the time to whole relief work ahead the code came into power.