NEW DELHI, Oct 6 - Setting the stage for the high-stakes battle between the BJP and the Congress in at least three states ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year, the Election Commission on Saturday announced the schedule for Assembly elections in five states, including Telangana, between November 12 and December 7.
Counting of votes in all the states will be done on December 11, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said announcing the schedule at a press conference here.
Voting will be held in a single phase in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram on November 28 and Rajasthan and Telangana on December 7, while Chhattisgarh will have two-phase elections on November 12 and 20.
The BJP and the Congress will face head on in Madhya Pradesh (230 seats), Rajasthan (200) and Chhattisgarh (90), where the saffron party is in power, while in Telangana (119), the ruling TRS is seeking a second term. In Mizoram (40), the Congress is the ruling party.
The BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for three consecutive terms, while in Rajasthan, power alternates between the two parties every election.
The Model Code of Conduct comes into force with immediate effect in four states, while in Telangana, it was in force from the date of dissolution of the Assembly last month.
In Chhattisgarh, where the Commission decided to go for two phases in view of the Maoists problem, voting will be held in the most affected areas of the 18 constituencies in the southern part on November 12 and in the remaining 72 seats, voting will take place on November 20.
Notification for the first phase will be issued on October 16 and the last date for nominations would be October 23. Scrutiny will take place next day and the last date for the withdrawal of nominations will be October 26.
The notification for the elections in the rest of the 72 constituencies in the second phase would be issued on October 26, while the last day for nominations would be November 2. Scrutiny will be done on November 3 and the last date for the withdrawal of the nominations will be November 5. The tenure of the Chhattisgarh Assembly comes to an end on January 5, 2019.
In Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram, the notification will be issued on November 2, while the last date for nominations would be November 9. Scrutiny will be done on November 12 and last date of withdrawal will be November 14.
While the term of the Assembly in Madhya Pradesh expires on January 7, the tenure of 40-member Assembly in Mizoram expires on December 15.
In Rajasthan and Telangana, the notification will be issued on November 12 and the last date for filing nominations will be November 19. Scrutiny will take place on November 20, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be November 22. The term of the Rajasthan Assembly expires on January 20, 2019.
Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K Chandrasekhar Rao dissolved the House last month � nearly nine months before its term was to end.
The CEC said electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter varifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) will be used in the current round of elections for which arrangements have been made to ensure their adequate number. � IANS