Bad Weather A Reason to Hold Polls in Himachal Before Gujarat: CEC

CEC said that the state election commission had requested for early polls due to weather conditions in Himachal.

Published
India
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File photo of Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti.
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Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti on 23 October defended the EC’s decision to hold Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh earlier than Gujarat, by saying that the state election commission and political parties had requested for the same owing to weather conditions in the state.

Speaking to ANI, the CEC said that the likelihood of snowfall in Himachal Pradesh in the latter half of November and flood relief work in Gujarat had played a role in the EC’s decision.

When we went to Himachal Pradesh, the state election commission there, political parties and the state administration had requested that on account of likelihood of snowfall, three districts – Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti and Chamba – are likely to experience snowfall. Therefore, a request made to conduct the elections in early November so that voters do not get affected and can cast their votes.
Achal Kumar Joti, CEC to ANI

He added that the EC will ensure that the dates for the Gujarat polls will be scheduled in such a way that the “outcome of the rest should not affect voting in Gujarat”.

The EC has always made sure that the voting pattern of one state does not affect the voting pattern of another state, and that is why the counting period in Himachal Pradesh has been kept on 18 December 2017.
Achal Kumar Joti, CEC to ANI

He cited the memorandum issued by the Ministry of Law in 2001 and said that the dates will be announced “not more than three weeks prior to the date on which the notification is issued”, with regard to elections.

Joti added that the restoration work being carried out by government employees in Gujarat was also the reason for different poll dates.

He said that as many as 26,443 state government employees will be assigned election-related duties and this will result in them abandoning restoration work.

In July 2017, 200 people lost their lives in Gujarat due to incessant rains and flooding.

(With inputs from ANI)

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