The Election Commission has announced by-elections for Patiala and Talwandi Sabo assembly segments for which voting will take place on August 21.
The code of conduct will come into force in the state on July 26.
The Talwandi Sabo assembly seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu resigned and switched to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, while the Patiala seat was declared vacant as Capt Amarinder Singh was elected MP from Amritsar.
The announcement has taken the Akalis unawares as the SAD was expecting the bypolls in October.
Ironically, the faction-ridden state Congress is also yet to gear up for the by-elections.
While chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has held several sangat darshan programmes at Talwandi Sabo, he has not held even a single such programme in Patiala, where the SAD fared badly in the Lok Sabha polls.
The SAD is weak in Patiala, the stronghold of Capt Amarinder Singh. Here, the Aam Aadmi Party also poses a threat to both the SAD and Congress.
The Akali Dal was preparing to hold sangat darshan in Patiala in July end, but now the code of conduct will come into force by then.
In view of the tussle over a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana, if the SAD announces a morcha, it would be tough for the party to fight on both the fronts simultaneously.
But party spokesman and education minister Daljeet Singh Cheema sounded confident. "There will be no impact of the early announcement for by-elections. The SAD is fully prepared on both the fronts, where our fight is with the Congress. And we will win both the battles."
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa welcomed the announcement saying the Congress would defeat the SAD in both assembly segments as the public had rejected it in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
Issue of notification: July 26
Last date of filing nominations: Aug 2
Scrutiny of nominations: Aug 4
Last date of withdrawing nominations: Aug 6
Date of polling: Aug 21
Counting of votes: Aug 25
Date before which election will be completed: Aug 30