The Election Commission (EC) will announce post-Diwali dates for polls in five states by the end of September.
Delhi will go to polls along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram as the winter begins. These assembly elections are being touted as the semi-finals before the country’s general elections in April-May 2014.
Except for Mizoram, Congress and BJP are pitted directly against each other in these states.
While Delhi has had Sheila Dikshit of Congress in power for 15 years, the BJP has been ruling Madhya Pradesh for a decade. In Rajasthan, the Congress trumped BJP in the 2008 assembly elections.
Official sources said polls in Delhi, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh would be held in a single phase but on different dates to enable security personnel to move from one location to another.
Polls in Chhattisgarh may be held in two phases, with Maoist-affected districts going to elections on a different date.
“We are all set. The polls will be held after the festival (Diwali) season,” a senior EC official told Hindustan Times.
Diwali falls on November 2. Officials said polling would start from mid-November for different states and will continue till the first week of December. The counting of votes in all states will happen simultaneously in mid-December to end the poll process before Christmas.
While the tenure of the Delhi assembly is expiring on December 17, the term of the Madhya Pradesh assembly ends on December 12. Mizoram assembly's term expires on December 16, Rajasthan on December 31 and Chhattisgarh on January 4.
Chief election commissioner VS Sampath along with election commissioners HS Brahma and Nasim Zaidi has held meetings with chief electoral officers and home ministry officials regarding the preparations.