The Election Commission on Friday announced that the elections for the 81-member Jharkhand Legislative Assembly will be held in five phases on November 27, December 2, 8, 12 and 18. The counting of votes will take place on December 23. The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect.
In view of the Maoist problem, the Commission decided to hold polls only between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. unlike the normal practice of having polling till 5 p.m. The notification for the first phase will be issued on November 3. The entire poll process will come to an end by December 31.
The election dates have been fixed taking into consideration all aspects, including the threat from the naxalites, climatic conditions, academic schedules, festivals and the communication network. The Commission was also making adequate arrangements, including the deployment of State and Central police forces, to ensure smooth campaigning and polling, Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said here.
Briefing journalists along with Election Commissioners S.Y. Quraishi and V.S. Sampath, he said that last time during the Lok Sabha elections, Jharkhand went to the polls in three phases.
The term of the Assembly is due to expire on March 9, 2010. But following the collapse of the Shibu Soren-led JMM government (as he lost the Assembly by-election) and as no party could form a government, the Assembly was kept in suspended animation by the Centre and President’s rule was imposed. The rule was again extended for six months beyond July 18, 2009 and it expires on January 18, 2010.