The Punjab Assembly by-election from Moga will take place on February 23.
A spokesman for the Chief Electoral Officer said here on Friday that the model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect. The by-election has been necessitated due to the resignation of the sitting MLA, Joginder Pal Jain.
February 6 will be the last date for filing of nominations, which will be scrutinised the next day, while February 9 will be the last date for withdrawal. Counting of votes will take place on February 28.
Mr Jain, who had retained the seat on Congress ticket in the 2012 Assembly polls, resigned recently from the House as well as the party to join the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. In the last polls, Akali Dal had fielded former Director General of Police (DGP) P.S. Gill, who lost the seat by more than 3,000 votes.
While welcoming him into the party-fold in Chandigarh, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal had announced that Mr Jain would contest the seat on Akali ticket.
On the other hand, the Congress has sounded the bugle for the electoral contest, with the entire leadership of Punjab unit descending on Moga on January 9 at a rally organised there. The president of the State unit of the party, Captain Amarinder Singh, announced his decision to camp and campaign in the constituency till polling day.
Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Jagmeet Singh Brar expressed confidence that the election would prove to be a landmark event with the people of Moga exercising their franchise to hand out a mandate that would ensure nobody in future betrays their mandate. Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Sunil Jakhar, ridiculed Mr Jain for citing “certain compulsions” to join the Akali Dal. He said such leaders do not have any compulsions but only weaknesses that make them succumb to temptations.
This is the second by-election in the State within a year of the general elections for the Assembly. In July last year, the BJP retained the Dasuya seat when its candidate Sukhjit Kaur Sahi won by a margin of over 47,000 votes. That by-election was necessitated as Ms Sahi's husband, Amarjit Singh Sahi, who had won the seat twice earlier, died after a brief illness.