By SM.21 Sep, 2019
NEW DELHI: Maharashtra and Haryana will vote for new assemblies on October 21 and the results will be out three days later, the Election Commission said today. The last date for filing nominations is October 4 and the deadline for withdrawing them is October 7. These are the first state polls after the national election, which the BJP won by a landslide, clearing the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi"s second term. The term of the Haryana assembly ends on November 2, and Maharashtra"s on November 9. There are 1.82 crore voters in the northern state; Maharashtra has 8.9 crore voters.
The elections are also the first after the Modi government"s big policy decisions including banning triple talaq and removing special status from Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two Union Territories.
Two special expenditure observers, both retired Indian Revenue Service officers, will be sent to Maharashtra to check election spending by candidates, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters today.
The Election Commission also announced the dates for 64 by-elections across the country. "I request the cooperation of all stakeholders in this democratic exercise," the Chief Election Commissioner said.
The BJP has already held several rallies in Haryana, where it faces a fragmented opposition. One of its major election issues is the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise to filter out illegal immigrants in the state, similar to the one carried out in Assam.
The Congress in Haryana and Maharashtra is working on regrouping and making a strategy for a comeback after a string of losses in the last state as well as the national elections.
In Haryana"s 90-seat assembly in the 2014 state election, the BJP won 47 and the Congress 15; the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) took 19. The rest were won by other regional parties and independents.
In Maharashtra, the ruling BJP and its ally Shiv Sena are hammering out the fine details of sharing seats for the 288-member assembly. They fought separately in the 2014 state election. The BJP won 122 seats in Maharashtra in 2014; the Shiv Sena took home 63 seats.
BJP"s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took out a rally last month in the state, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally on Thursday at the close of the roadshow.
Their rival Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party that also fought separately in 2014 appear to be struggling in Maharashtra after an exodus of leaders to the BJP and the Shiv Sena. They are fighting together this time. In 2014, the Congress won 42 and Sharad Pawar"s NCP 41 seats.
In the northern state, the BJP made a big entry in 2014 with a new face, Manohar Lal Khattar. The party also swept the national election this year amid Congress infighting. The regional INLD is having trouble due to a family feud.