According to the guidelines, opinion polls are not allowed to be shown 48 hours before the end of polling.
The Central Election Commission on Thursday issued guidelines on opinion and exit polls for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh elections. According to the guidelines, opinion polls are not allowed to be shown 48 hours before the end of polling. The polling will start at 8 AM and end at 5:30 PM and during that time the exit polls are not allowed to be shown. Himachal Pradesh will go to polls on November 12 to elect its next government and the results will be declared on December 8, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced.
Earlier in October, Himachal Pradesh Congress expressed doubts about the long gap between the polling and result dates and said their party has no faith in EVM machines.
Addressing a press conference, All India Congress Committee spokesperson and Himachal Pradesh Media In-charge Alka Lamba said, "We all know that the festival of democracy has started inside Himachal with the announcement of the election dates. Indian National Congress welcomes the dates announced by the Election Commission. Indian National Congress is assuring the Election Commission that the Congress will fully follow every rule and law of the election code of conduct."
The Congress leader said that she expects that the Centre will misuse the government machinery in the middle of elections. "With that, we also expect that the ruling BJP which is at the Center can still misuse the government machinery in the middle of elections. This is our concern because we have seen that the middle of the election, by misusing the government institutions, especially the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), they come in the middle of what should be a fair election," she added.
She further said that her party expects from the Election Commission that this election will be completely fair. "On November 12, 68 seats will go to polls in a single phase. Result on 8th December. Time of 25 days has been kept. The counting of votes will be done after 25 days. Thought maybe this is happening because of Gujarat, but came to see last time the announcement of simultaneous elections of all the five states was done," Lamba said.
She also expressed surprise over the delay in the Gujarat elections and questioned the delay in the counting of votes in Himachal Pradesh. "And this time the election dates of Gujarat were not announced and we are definitely a little surprised about the same thing that when the November 12 vote is being held, the counting process takes place in the next two-three days as always. The reason was not understood that if Gujarat's dates were not announced, then why such a long time was taken for counting," Lamba added.
"But we feel that within Himachal, with the date of these elections, the loot of the exchequer other the Jai Ram Thakur government has been curbed," she further said. Himachal Pradesh voted to elect its legislative assembly on November 9, 2017. In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated the Congress Party and won 44 seats while Congress secured only 21 seats in 2017.