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The Election Commission on Wednesday announced dates for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. While Gujarat will have elections in two phases - December 13 and 17, Himachal Pradesh will vote on November 4. The counting for both the assembly elections will take place on December 20.
The dates were announcements by Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath. He said that the model code of conduct had come into place in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh with immediate effect. The term of the 182-member Gujarat and 68-member Himachal Assembly ends on January 17, 2013 and January 10, 2013 respectively, said the CEC.
Campaigning has already started in both states with Gujarat seeing a lot of action as both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Congress are leaving no stones unturned to mobilise support.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who will be seeking re-election for a third successive term, is already touring the state while Congress president Sonia Gandhi kicked-off her party's election campaign from Rajkot on Wednesday.
Modi, while listing his government's achievements, has also launched a personal attack on Sonia and alleged that the government had spent Rs 1,880 crore on her foreign trips and treatment abroad.
On the other hand, the Congress has accused the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh of financial mismanagement during its 56-month rule and said it posed a serious threat to the future development of the state.
HPCC president Virbhadra Singh alleged that the BJP government had deprived the state of gains of Rs 191 crore and Rs 850 crore in 2006-07 and 2007-08 respectively, and presented a Rs 130-crore deficit budget in the first year (2008-09) which further increased to Rs 519 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 1,235 crore in 2010-11.
The Nationalist Congress Party will also contest the elections in Himachal Pradesh and field candidates in almost all the 68 seats.
While Gujarat has 182 assembly constituencies, 13 of which are reserved for SCs and 26 for STs, Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly constituencies, with 17 reserved for SCs and 3 for STs.
The BJP is fighting anti-incumbency in both states.
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