The voting for the elections to the state assemblies of Maharashtra and Haryana will take place on October 21, while the votes will be counted on October 24, the Election Commission of India announced on Saturday.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the dates for the much-anticipated polls in the two states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power.
The last date for the filing of nominations is October 4 while the scrutiny of nominations will be done the following day. The last date to withdraw nominations is October 7, Arora said.
Besides elections to the two state assemblies, by-elections will be held in 64 constituencies, spread across a number of states, the same day.
Before announcing the dates, Arora assured all the stakeholders of the quality of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the veracity of which has been questioned by almost every Opposition leader over the past few years.
"Election campaigns impose an environmental cost upon us. We appeal to political parties to avoid the use of plastic and use only environment-friendly material in their campaigns," Arora said.
"Haryana has 1.82 crore registered voters and Maharashtra has 8.94 crore voters," the Chief Election Commissioner said.
The 5-year term of the legislative assemblies of Haryana and Maharashtra expires on 2nd November and 9th November respectively.
The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress are contesting the Maharashtra elections in an alliance. Even though the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition is in power, it's still not clear if the two parties will go to the polls individually or in an alliance. The NCP-Congress coalition, however, has been battered by resignations of top leaders and defections to the BJP.
The election to these assemblies comes just months after BJP's mammoth victory in the Lok Sabha elections, leaving Congress at a paltry 52 seats. The saffron party, on the other hand, won 303 seats and the ruling NDA ended up with over 350 seats.