Assembly polls to Delhi and 4 states slated for November

The Election Commission (EC) of India on Friday announced the dates for elections to five assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, in what could be a prelude to the general elections due next year.

Billed as the litmus test of popularity of the Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party and Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party, the election results could portend the shape of things to come at the 2014 elections to Parliament.

Chief election commissioner VS Sampath announced dates for five states assembly elections in New Delhi on Friday.

The elections would be spread over a period of about two-and-a-half months beginning 11 November 2013, the EC told a press conference.

All states, except Chhattisgarh, will have polling on a single day while polls in Maoist-infested districts of Chhattisgarh will be conducted in two phases after consulting the home ministry.

The terms of the legislative assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi are due to expire at the end of the year, although on slightly differing dates between 15 December and 4 January 2014.

The first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh will be held on 11 November for which notification will be issued on 18 October. The last date of filing nominations will be 25 October and the last date of withdrawal will be 28 October.

Scrutiny of nominations will take place on 26 October.

The second phase of elections will take place on 19 November for which the notification will be issued on 25 October. While nominations can be filed till 1 November, scrutiny will be held on 2 November. The last date of withdrawal is 4 November.

For the 25 November poll in Madhya Pradesh, the notification will be issued on 1 November. The last date of filing nominations is 8 November. While scrutiny will take place on 9 November, nominations can be withdrawn till 11 November.

In Rajasthan, where the elections will be held on 1 December, the notification will be issued on 5 November. While 12 November is the last date for filing nominations, they can be withdrawn till 16 November. The scrutiny of nominations will be carried out on 13 November.

In Delhi and Mizoram, the elections will be held on 4 December. The notification for assembly polls in both the states will be issued on 9 November. The nominations can be filed till 16 November and scrutiny will take place on 18 November. The last date of withdrawing from the electoral race is 20 November.

The term of the five state assemblies are expected to end on the following dates:

Chhattisgarh
  04 January 2014
Madhya Pradesh
 12 December 2013
Mizoram
 15 December 2013
Rajasthan
 31 December 2013
Delhi
 17 December 2013

Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have been ruled by the BJP for the past 10 years and Delhi by the Congress for the past 15 years. Congress won Rajasthan from BJP five years back.

BJP is looking to retain Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and wrest Rajasthan from Congress, while the 70 seats in the national capital will see triangular contest with the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party.

The commission will also simultaneously hold bye-elections from Surat West assembly constituency of Gujarat and Yercaud (ST) assembly constituency of Tamil Nadu.