The Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 while the counting of votes will be done on March 10. While UP will vote in seven phases and Manipur in two, the remaining three states will vote in single phase on February 14.
Announcing the month-long election schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra detailed about the number of voters who will be casting votes in the five states, first-time voters, the total constituencies which will go to polls, and expenditure limit for candidates.
A total of 18.3 crore people will cast their votes in five states of which 8.55 crore are women. Of these over 18 crore voters, 24.9 lakh will casting their votes for the first time.
Elections will be held for 690 assembly seats where 1,620 polling booths as part of the Election Commission’s COVID safety protocols.
Earlier this week, the Election Commission announced a hike in expenditure limit for candidates to Rs 95 lakh (up from Rs 70 lakh) for Lok Sabha elections, and Rs 40 lakh (up from Rs 28 lakh) for Assembly polls.
If the polls hold significance for what they will bring to BJP, the ruling party at the Centre, they have an added element of political salience for the likely impact their results will have on the opposition camp too, as the Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool Congress have mounted an aggressive campaign which is as much directed at the Congress as the BJP.
With the Congress’ claim of being the natural spearhead of any united opposition challenge to the BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls drawing scrutiny from regional satraps, the election results may force a realignment in the opposition politics, political watchers believe.
In Punjab, BJP is fighting in an alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh and an Akali faction to take on the ruling Congress, AAP and SAD-BSP.