New Delhi, Oct 12: The Election Commission on Thursday announced that voting for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections will take place on November 9 while counting date will be December 18. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Achal Kumar Joti said that voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system, that was first used in Goa polls earlier this year, will be used in all booths across Himachal Pradesh. The VVPAT slips will be counted at one seat, randomly chosen. (All that Election Commission said)

The last date of filing of nomination is October 23, 2017. The last date of scrutiny of nominations is October 24. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 26. The poll procedure will be over by December 20. The Election Commission will also soon announce dates for the Gujarat Assembly elections. The CEC said that the counting date for Himachal Pradesh is December 18 so that voting pattern for one state must not affect that of the other. “This will enable simultaneous counting of votes for both states,” the CEC said.

The elections will have photo voter slips. There will be 7,521 polling booths across the hill state. The voting compartment size has been increased from 24 to 30 inches. For the first time, Himachal Pradesh will have 136 all women managed booths.

The model code of conduct (aachaar samhita) has been put in place from today. The election expenditure ceiling has been increased to Rs 28 lakh per candidate.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was announced as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate by Congress President Rahul Gandhi recently. Denying reports of infighting, Singh said that he will lead the Congress to a comfortable victory. “We will be forming the government. Congress will win 45 seats or even more. Our slogan is Mission Repeat 2017,” he was quoted as saying in a report.

The dates for the Gujarat Assembly elections will also be announced by the EC soon. Joti had earlier said that voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system will be used in over 50,000 booths in Gujarat.

Meanwhile, eyeing the assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Congress have begun rigorous election campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.