Maharashtra, Haryana to go to polls on 15 October

The Election Commission has notified assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana - both ruled by the Congress and its allies - on 15 October, offering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party its first major trial of strength after its victory in the general election in May.

Electronic Voting MachineResults are due on 19 October.

The terms of the legislative assemblies of Haryana and Maharashtra are due to expire on 27 October and 8 November, respectively. The EC is required to hold elections to constitute the new legislative assemblies in the two states before the expiry of their present term.

In Maharashtra 288 assembly seats are at stake, including 29 seats reserved for scheduled castes and 25 reserved for scheduled tribes while there are 90 assembly seats, including 17 seats reserved for scheduled castes (not specified for scheduled tribes) in Haryana.

Maharashtra is the bigger bet, which has a population of 114 million and is home to India's financial capital, Mumbai. Haryana, which is closer to national capital New Delhi, has a population of 25 million.

The total number of electorate of all existing assembly constituencies in Haryana and Maharashtra stood at 1,61,58,117 and 8,25,91,826, respectively, on the basis of the revised electoral rolls as of  31 July 2014.

Both states have chief ministers from the opposition Congress party that was routed by Modi in the general election, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the strongest lower-house mandate in India in three decades.

The BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance are, however, in the minority in the upper house, or Rajya Sabha, where India's 29 states are represented.

The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately and all the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of poll going states and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties, the state governments of Haryana & Maharashtra. The Model Code of Conduct will also be applicable to the union government for the states concerned, the Election Commission said in its announcement.