A general view of Election Commission of India building in New Delhi | Photo:PTI|File
Shimla (Himachal Pradesh): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has prohibited exit or opinion polls regarding the Vidhan Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat from today.
Polling for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh began at 8 am amid tight security arrangements on Saturday while Gujarat, which is the native state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will vote in two phases on December 1 and 8.
The poll panel issued a notification on Thursday prohibiting the publication of exit-poll projections in any print and electronic media will be prohibited from 8 am on November 12 and 5 pm on December 5.
A spokesman for the Election Department said that as per the notification, the display of any election matter, including the results of an opinion poll or any other poll survey in electronic media, would be prohibited during 48 hours ending with the hours fixed for the conclusion of polling in connection with the general elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat under Section 126(1) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The EC also directed the chief electoral officers of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat with the request that the advisory is communicated in the form of a gazette notification and a copy is sent to the Commission for record. The officers concerned have also been advised to notify all news bureaus, media houses and radio and television channels on the advisory.
The campaign for Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls ended on Thursday, with the BJP and Congress engaged in a keen contest and Aam Aadmi Party also trying to put up a strong performance.A total of 412 candidates across parties are in the fray.
The elections will decide the fates of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, CLP Leader Mukesh Agnihotri, Chairman of Congress Campaign Committee Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and several other prominent leaders.
Himachal Pradesh has seen power alternate between the BJP and Congress over the past several elections. The BJP is hopeful of returning with a strong mandate.
The state government has declared a public holiday on polling day for employees of government offices, boards, corporations, educational institutions and industrial establishments in Himachal Pradesh.
The counting of votes for both states has been scheduled for December 8.For the Gujarat polls, the BJP has announced its first list of 160 candidates. Votes will be polled for a total of 182 Assembly constituencies in the state.
BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 27 years.