Voting in the assembly elections in Punjab will take place on 20 February and not on 14 February as was announced earlier in view of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced today.
Rescheduling the dates for the electoral exercise in the state, the ECI said the notification for the elections will be issued on 25 January. The last date of nominations will be 1 February while the scrutiny will take place the next day. The date of withdrawal of nominations is 4 February and the date of polling is 20 February. The counting of votes, however, will be done as scheduled on 10 March.
The commission said that after announcing the poll schedule recently, it had received several representations from the state government, political parties, and other organisations drawing attention regarding the movement of a large number of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Sri Guru Ravidas Ji Jayanti celebrations, which is observed on 16 February.
”They have also brought to the notice that a large number of devotees start moving for Varanasi around a week before the day of celebration and keeping the poll day on 14 February will deprive a large number of electors of voting,” the ECI said, adding in view of this, they requested to shift the poll date a few days after 16 February.
The commission also took inputs from the state government and the chief electoral officer of Punjab in this regard.
After considering these new facts emerging out of these representations, inputs from the state government and the chief electoral officer, past precedence, and all facts and circumstances in the matter, the ECI decided to reschedule the assembly polls in the state.