iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
New Delhi/Rajkot New Delhi , October 03, 2012
The Election Commission on Wednesday announced two-phase elections in Gujarat on December 13 and 17 and at one go in Himachal Pradesh on November 4. Counting is on December 20. The day also saw Sonia Gandhi launch the Congress’ poll campaign with a rally in Rajkot, where she sought the people’s support in building a “new Gujarat”.

Though the Congress president did not mention chief minister Narendra Modi, who had attacked her just a day ago, she questioned his government’s development claims while attacking the BJP on various issues.

“The Congress has always accepted the Mahatma’s ideals and followed them. We have miles to go, but have come miles since 1947... what the Congress has done for the development of Gujarat, nobody has ever matched. It was the Congress that brought refineries and industries to Gujarat. The Narmada project was conceived by Pandit Nehruji and is named after Sardar Patel,” she said in her 22-minute speech, delivered in very hot weather.

“The Narmada waters have not reached Gujarat in the past 10 years and farmers are committing suicide in Saurashtra.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/10/04-10-12-pg-01a.jpg

Gandhi also took the state government to task for not appointing the lokayukta (public functionary looking into corruption complaints against ministers and bureaucrats) for eight years.

“I want to know what the BJP is doing about corruption. Why is there such a difference between their walk and talk?”


Defending the Centre's latest reforms push, Gandhi asked why the Gujarat government was not slashing VAT on petroleum products when Congress governments in various states had done so. "It is known that Gujarat charges the highest VAT."

Before her speech, Gandhi visited the ashram named after Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the spiritual mentor of Swami Vivekananda, in whose name Modi had recently undertaken a yatra.

The announcement of assembly poll dates in the two BJP-ruled states draws the Congress and BJP into a mega political battle that could be seen as a game-changer in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, due in 2014.

The polls will be a test for Modi, who is preparing for a bigger role at the central level. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal is seeking a third term in power.

Schedule for assembly polls in Himachal, Gujarat

The following is the schedule for assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat as announced by the Election Commission on Wednesday:

Himachal Pradesh:

Issue of notification - Oct 10

Last date for filing nominations - Oct 17

Scrutiny - Oct 18

Last date for withdrawals - Oct 20

Polling - Nov 4

Counting of votes - Dec 20


Phase I:

Issue of notification - Nov 17

Last date for filing nominations - Nov 24

Scrutiny - Nov 26

Last date for withdrawals - Nov 28

Polling - Dec 13

Counting of votes - Dec 20

Phase II:

Issue of notification - Nov 23

Last date for filing nominations - Nov 30

Scrutiny - Dec 1

Last date for withdrawals - Dec 3

Polling - Dec 17

Counting of votes - Dec 20

(Inputs from HTC, Delhi)