Seven phases in UP polls, two in Manipur, and a single phase for Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand
The Election Commission has announced the polling dates for assembly elections in five states—Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh.
Goa and Punjab will go to the polls on February 4, followed by Uttarakhand on February 26. Manipur will have a two-phase poll—the first on February 18 and the second on March 8. Uttar Pradesh will have the longest haul—seven phases, from February 11 through Feb 15, Feb 19, Feb 23, Feb 27, March 4 and March 8.
Results for all the five states will be announced on March 11.
There are 40 assembly seats in Goa, 60 in Manipur, 70 in Uttarakhand, 117 in Punjab and 403 in Uttar Pradesh.
As on January 1, 2017, the total number of voters in Goa are 1,085, 271; in Manipur it is 1,80,7843; in Punjab 1,92,14,236; in Uttarakhand 73,81,000; and 13,85,17,026 in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the Election Commission, the Electors Photo Identity Cards’ (EPIC) coverage in Goa is 99.55 per cent; in Manipur it is 100 per cent; in Punjab it is 98.47 per cent; in Uttarakhand it is 100 per cent; and in Uttar Pradesh it is 99.70 per cent. This should, in principle, eliminate any bogus voting.
Goa has 1,642 (it was the same number in 2012 assembly elections) polling stations, Manipur has 2,794 (2,325 in 2012), Punjab has 22,600 (19,724 in 2012), Uttarakhand has 10,854 (9,744 in 2012), while Uttar Pradesh has 1,47,148 polling stations (1,28,112 in 2012).
The ceiling of expenses per candidate in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, is Rs 28 lakh. It is Rs 20 lakh per candidate in Manipur and Goa, respectively.
The commission has said that there will be strict monitoring of instances of “paid news” through three-tier Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMCs) at the district, state and Election Commission levels. It also said that the Press Council has nominated a member for the state-level MCMC.
The SMS and voice messages over phone during the election campaign will have to pass through pre-certification of election advertisements as in the case of TV, cable network and radio, including private FM channels, cinema halls and audio-visual displays in public places.
—India Legal team
Lead Picture: People queuing up at a polling booth in Moradabad, UP. Photo: UNI