New Delhi, September 22nd
To intensify preparations for the upcoming assembly elections, the full Electoral Commission will visit Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat on Thursday to assess the readiness of the electoral machinery in the two states.
Chief Elections Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Elections Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey are in Himachal Pradesh for a three-day visit starting Thursday.
They will meet senior government officials to review preparations and ensure that measures are in place to ensure the elections run smoothly.
On Monday, Kumar and Pandey are likely to visit Gujarat to take stock of the preparations.
The terms of office of the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assemblies end on January 8, 2023 and February 23, 2023 respectively, and the Electoral Authority may hold elections at any time within six months of the end of a House’s five-year term.
It is customary for the Electoral Commission to visit election-bound states before announcing elections.
In 2017, Himachal Pradesh went to the polls on November 9th, while Gujarat exercised its right to vote in two phases – on December 9th and 14th.
The BJP has been in power in Gujarat since 1998 and the main opposition Congress almost defeated it in the last general election in 2017.
However, in the past five years, several congressional leaders have left the party to join the BJP, and the AAP appears to have prevailed in the upcoming election campaign to expand its presence in the country.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP defeated Congress to take power in 2017. Congress is preparing to challenge the BJP in the largely bipolar hill state where the AAP is trying to gain a foothold.