Bypolls to be held in 64 seats; all results on Oct 24

Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra would be held on October 21 and the results will be declared on October 24, the Election Commission said on Saturday. Polls in both the states will be held in a single phase.

By-elections for 64 seats in 17 states and Union Territories will also be held on October 21, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

The elections will test the pre-poll alliances forged in Maharashtra between ruling BJP and Shiv Sena, and opposition NCP and Congress. In Haryana, the Congress is up against a well-placed BJP government being run by Manohar Lal Khattar. The Congress’ state unit had only recently settled its leadership issues. The by-elections on October 21 will test the slim majority of the new BJP government in Karnataka, with 15 assembly seats in the state going to the polls. The seats fell vacant after the speaker disqualified 15 rebel Congress MLAs. The MLAs have challenged their disqualification in the Supreme Court, which is set to hear the case next week.

The Election Commision said the decision to hold by-elections in Karnataka was taken after it took legal advice on the matter. Polls for two other vacant seats in the state are yet to be announced due to pending election petitions.

By-elections for one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar and 64 Assembly constituencies were also announced by the Election Commission. Polls would be held in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Meghalaya, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh on October 21. Bypolls will also be held at the Samastipur Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The seat fell vacant after the death of Lok Janshakti Party MP Ramchandra Paswan.

While announcing the poll dates, the chief election commissioner said special expenditure observers have been appointed to check circulation of illegal money to influence voters ahead of the elections. The Election Commission has asked political parties to desist from using plastic material during campaigning. The model code of conduct has now come into effect across all poll-bound constituencies. —Our Political Bureau/New Delhi