The Chief Election Commission (CEC) of India, Wednesday declared the poll dates for two assembly elections for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where elections are scheduled to be held on before mid January.
According to reports, CEC has declared that poll dates in Gujarat on December 13 and 17 and in Himachal Pradesh on November 04, 2012.
The Bhartiya Janta Party is ruling in both states.
Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told the media here that votes in both states will be counted Dec 20.
According to Sampath, the polling will go on in single phase in Himachal Pradesh for 68 assembly seats while in Gujarat there will be two phase of polling for 182 assembly seats.
Here is the detail of schedules:
Election Notification: 10th October 2012
Date of making nominations: 17th October 2012
Scrutiny of applications: 18th October 2012
Last date of Name Withdrawal: 20th October 2012
Polling: 04th November 2012
Counting: 20th December 2012
Polling will be held in two phase for which:
Election Notification for first Phase: 17th November 2012
Election Notification for second Phase: 23rd November 2012
Date of making nominations for first phase: 24th November 2012
Date of making nominations for second phase: 30th November 2012
Scrutiny of applications for the first phase: 26th November 2012
Scrutiny of applications for the second phase: 01st December 2012
Withdrawal of the name for the first phase: 28th November 2012
Withdrawal of the name for the first phase: 03rd December 2012
Polling for the first phase: 13th December 2012
Polling for the second phase: 17th December 2012
Counting of the polls for all the two phases: 20th December 2012
These will be the most important state elections since Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, voted in February-March this year, along with Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
The announcement came hours after Congress president Sonia Gandhi unleashed the Congress campaign in Gujarat with a stinging attack on the BJP.
"We are making foolproof security arrangements in both states by deploying adequate strength of central police forces," he said.
Armed police forces from other states would also be deployed in the two states.
Sampath said there would be strict monitoring of expenditure incurred by political parties and candidates as well as "paid news".
He said all candidates would be required to open separate bank accounts and incur expenditure only from these accounts.
The Election Commission, Sampath said, expects "the highest standards" of conduct and neutrality in election work from officials.
"Their work will be under constant watch and scrutiny." He added that the model code of conduct for political parties would be strictly enforced.
Sampath said the polling dates had been determined after taking into account climatic conditions, particularly in Himachal, academic calendar, festivals, law and order, and availability of security forces.
Video: CEC Declaring the Poll dates for assembly in Gujarat and HP