Five States To Go To Polls

The Election Commission announced the assembly election schedule for five states, three of them BJP-ruled, sounding the bugle for the medley of BJP versus Congress contests that would set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when an array of opposition parties plan to challenge and oust the Modi-led BJP government.

Elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram will be held between November 12 and December 7. Counting in all the states will be held on December 11.

Chief election commissioner O P Rawat said Chhattisgarh would have two-phase polling on November 12, covering 18 assembly constituencies affected by left-wing extremism, and November 20 (for the remaining 72 seats). Mizoram, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will have a single-day poll. While polling in Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh will be held together on November 28, Rajasthan and Telangana will be the last to vote on December 7.

Rawat, flanked by election commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa, also announced bypolls on November 3 to three LS seats—Shimoga, Bellary (ST) and Mandya— as well as two assembly seats of Ramanagaram and Jamkhandi in Karnataka.

The highly anticipated announcement ended the wait among the political class and rang in the model code of conduct during which the political rivals would be pretty much be on an even keel in terms of the advantage of being in power.

But it is who comes to power on December 11 in the five states which would not only determine the fate of those provinces but in many ways the mood that would reign in the general elections.

However, for all the significance attached to them, the victories in end-year elections over 15 years have had a mixed impact on national polls that follow in six months.

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