New Delhi: Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand will be held in five phases beginning Nov 25 and ending Dec 20. By-elections to three Delhi assembly seats will also be held Nov 25. Counting for all the seats would be held Dec 23, the Election Commission announced Saturday.
"The five phases will be Nov 25, Dec 2, Dec 9, Dec 14 and Dec 20 in both states," Chief Election Commissioner of India V.S. Sampath told the media at a briefing held here.
He said that the commission was mandated to complete elections in both states before the expiry of the term of their respective state legislatures.
The term of the legislative assembly of Jharkhand ends Jan 3, 2015 and that of Jammu and Kashmir Jan 19, 2015.
"Electoral rolls for Jharkhand were finalised July 31 while the final electoral roll for Jammu and Kashmir was published Oct 15," Sampath said.
Replying to a question whether it was the appropriate time to conduct elections in the flood-affected state of Jammu and Kashmir, Sampath said that the decision was taken after consultations with all recognised political parties there.
"We are bound by the constitution to hold elections before the term of the assembly expires. When we consulted all recognised political parties there, they were of the opinion that there is no need to stall the election," he maintained.
For the 849 people who are still living in camps, voter cards will be distributed to them in their camps, he said.
Considering that both the states are sensitive from the point of view of law and order, Sampath said the commission had made efficient arrangements to avert any untoward incident.
"Both states are sensitive from the security point of view. We have taken all measures to identify the security requirement by having suitable discussion with concerned authorities. There will be deployment of adequate forces to ensure free and fair polls," Sampath asserted.
He further said that there will be "sufficient number of general observers and micro observers in all poll going states depending on need and sensitivity."
The model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect and shall be applicable to the union government and the states concerned, he added.
The total number of electors in Jharkhand is 207.44 lakhs or 20.74 million, and that in Jammu and Kashmir is 72.25 lakhs or 7.22 million.
"There will be 24,648 polling stations in Jharkhand for its 81 constituencies and 10,015 in Jammu and Kashmir for 87 constituencies," Sampath announced.
The three Delhi constituencies where by-elections will be held Nov 25 are Krishna Nagar, Mehrauli and Tughlakabad.
Counting for all the seats would be held Dec 23, the poll panel announced.