Elections Commission is likely to announce the dates for General Assembly Elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. Last week, the Congress has announced the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the Himachal Pradesh elections. The dates will be announced at a press conference by the election commission where the week, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti might brief the media.
The term of the 68-member Himachal Assembly ends on 7 January 2018. The Himachal Pradesh election is of more importance to Congress than BJP as it is one of the few states left in India where party still has strongholds in the country.
A K Joti also said that voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system will be used in over 50,000 booths in Gujarat. The EC sources said the Himachal elections may be held early since the state will be in the grip of extremely cold wave and heavy snowfall by November end and the Lahaul-Spiti district may even become inaccessible by early December. Since 1985, the state has never re-elected an incumbent and the Congress and BJP have exchanged power.
To ensure fair and free elections, web casting, CCTV, videography will be provided at border check posts and identified polling stations in Gujarat. Moreover, multiple agencies like Income Tax, Excise and Narcotics Control Bureau will be activated to "curb issues of money, drug, liquor and distribution of gifts".
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