Gujarat 2012: A quick look at possible schedule of election
Ahmedabad, 1 July 2012
This is the first article of JP’s ‘Gujarat Election 2012′ series on DeshGujarat
So when will Gujarat assembly election 2012 be held? And how?
Well, there was hardly any doubt that the elections would be held in December 2012, but last year Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela started saying in every other meeting and media interaction that Modi would dissolve the assembly and invite early elections in Gujarat. Vaghela propagated inside and outside his party that Gujarat assembly elections would be held in June-July 2012 or so. He started Gujarat Congress poll campaign as early as in Navratri last year, believing that the elections would come earlier. Now here is the month of June, and there’s no election. Vaghela now says that it is because of BJP’s defeat in the Mansa by-election that it dropped its plan to invite early elections.
While it has been common knowledge that the elections could take place in December 2012, a couple of print and digital news publishers in the recent past reported that the elections would be held in January 2013 instead of December 2012. They saw a political conspiracy behind it and produced a logic that the five-year term of Gujarat assembly ends on 17th of January 2013, and therefore elections can be held on any date before that, even in January itself. Such news reports further added that an election in January could sabotage the Gujarat government’s Vibrant Gujarat Global Business Summit and that the union government would love that to happen.
So a couple of distractions, but such logic is not supported by our sources close to the activities of Election Commission of India in Gujarat.
On the basis of schedules of past two elections and on the basis of some technical points, one can conclude that the announcement of elections could be made anytime in October, most likely after the first week of October. Before that the Chief Election Commissioner of India will visit Gujarat and hold discussions with political parties, collectors, police officers and ECI officers in Gujarat. In 2002 the elections were announced on the 28th of October, and in 2007 the announcement date was 11th October. This is what’s likely to happen this time too. The election could be announced in October.
As soon as the election is announced, the code of conduct will be effective in the state. It is likely that Navratri and Diwali will be celebrated under the model code of conduct in Gujarat.
Generally, the ECI announces the election schedule one month before the notification is issued. So if the announcement is made in October, the notification will be issued in November, and polling in December. Once notification is issued, nominations, scrutiny of nominations, withdrawal, campaign, completion of campaign, polling and counting happens. Like 2002 and 2007, the polling date could be mid December or so.
But here is a question. And it is that whether the contesting of all 182 seats of Gujarat would be held on one day or will there be a two-phase poll?
In 2002 the then election commissioner Mr. Lyngdoh had announced single phase election in Gujarat. But in 2007, the state witnessed two phase poll which was in accordance with BJP’s demand. Congress had demanded single phase poll in 2007. Gujarat had earlier witnessed two-phase poll in 1995 too.
So here is the unanswered question, whether Gujarat will witness single phase poll or two phase poll?
Well, the election commission takes such decisions on the basis of the law and order situation in the state, and on the basis of availability of security forces. So the central Home ministry can certainly play a role here. If they strongly claim that such and such a number of security forces are busy in other security operations elsewhere in the country, and if the central Home ministry can convince the ECI, it can invite two phase polls. But why would the central Home ministry do so, without any reason?
Gujarat elections are likely to be held with Himachal Pradesh’s assembly poll. While the Gujarat assembly’s five year term ends on 17 January 2013, Himachal Pradesh’s ends on 10 January 2013. Both states traditionally witness the assembly poll season together, be it 2002 or 2007. So the ECI will need security forces for some 182 seats in Gujarat and 45 seats in Himachal Pradesh simultaneously. Looking at the experience of recent state elections in north India, it seems the ECI can comfortably manage single day poll in Gujarat, rest time will answer.
When two or more states go to the polls in the same season, their results are announced on the same date. So a new government must be in power in Himachal Pradesh before 10 January, and therefore it is certain that the result must be announced a few days before that. And so Gujarat poll results will also be out possibly in December itself, or latest by the end of the first week of January.
So, be ready for intense October/November/December this year.
Updates on 9 July:
|<< Previous Post|