Assembly elections are due in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. The Election Commission is likely to announce dates for the first four, while Telangana dates will be announced after the updation of electoral rolls. News agency PTI, quoting its sources, said that the entire election exercise will be completed by the first week of December. While polls in Chhattisgarh are likely to be held in two phases, elections in the other states might see polling in one phase, they said.
Meanwhile, Congress has questioned the independence of the Election Commission over last minute postponement in the announcement of poll dates for the state assembly polls. The Commission in a press release Saturday morning had notified the timing of the Press Conference called for the announcement of the poll schedule at 12.30 pm. A later release deferred the media interaction by three hours to 3.30 pm.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a tweet alluded the announcement was pushed back by three hours to favour the ruling party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to address a speech at Ajmer at 1pm in poll bound Rajasthan on Saturday. Once the elections are announced, the model code conduct comes into effect barring political executive from making any policy announcements.
This is not the first time the Congress has accused the commission bias. During Gujarat assembly polls last year, the party called the election watchdog of acting like a “puppet and frontal organization” of the BJP for “taking out a road show” after casting his vote.
The Congress was miffed with the Commission for not acting on its complaint against Prime Minister for what it called was a clear violation of the model code.
While BJP is focusing on Congress in Rajasthan, smaller regional parties that have pockets of influence in the state could also play spoilsport on some seats. BSP chief and Dalit leader Mayawati had on Friday announced that her party would go solo in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
In 2013, BJP had come to power with thumping majority in Rajasthan winning more than two-third seats. Subsequently, in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the party won all 25 seats. But it suffered a setback in by-polls held in January this year, losing two Lok Sabha and one Assembly seat by heavy margins.
In Madhya Pradesh, the saffron party, which has been ruling the state since 2003, is facing a threat from Congress. The unearthing of various scams in the state has marred the image of the party recently, which Congress could use to its advantage to unseat the BJP.
On the other hand, Chhattisgarh is likely to see an interesting contest between the BJP and Congress, which have been winning almost the same percentage of votes in the last three elections.