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Election Commission likely to announce poll dates for Gujarat, Himachal today

Election Commission likely to announce poll dates for Gujarat, Himachal today

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India will hold a press conference on Friday in Delhi and is likely to announce the dates of the Assembly elections for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The press conference will be held at Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi at 3 pm.

The term of the Gujarat assembly ends on February 18 while that of Himachal Pradesh ends on January 8. The Election Commission recently visited both states to review election preparedness.

The Gujarat assembly has 182 seats with 92 as the majority mark; in Himachal Pradesh, which has 68 assembly seats, 35 is the majority.

In the 2017 election, the BJP won 99 seats in Gujarat and the Congress 77. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 44 seats and Congress 21.

Back-to-back rallies and visits by top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have set the stage for the crucial elections in the two BJP-ruled states.

The BJP, which has been in power in Gujarat for 22 years, has been challenged by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with its leader Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi's Chief Minister, making frequent visits to the state and making several election promises. Though the Congress is the leading opposition party in Gujarat, AAP recently said it has dislodged the party as the BJP's main rival.

BJP chief JP Nadda on Wednesday flagged off a rally earlier this week in Gujarat as he accused the Congress of halting development in the state. PM Modi's recent visits have involved the launch of multi-crore projects.

Kejriwal has promised free electricity, 15 lakh jobs, and an unemployment allowance if it comes to power in the state.

In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress last month suffered a major setback with its working president Harsh Mahajan joining the BJP.

AAP, trying to gain a foothold in the state, has promised an unemployment allowance and six lakh government jobs.

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