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UP and 4 other states go to polls in Feb, March; results on March 11

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will go to polls between February 4 and March 8, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced on Wednesday.

The results of all five states will be out on March 11.

The Uttar Pradesh elections will be held in seven phases on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 27 and March 4 and 8.

The Goa and Punjab elections will be held simultaneously on February 4, while the Uttarakhand polls will be on February 15. Manipur will go to polls in two phases — March 4 and 8.

CEC Nasim Zaidi said over 16 crore people will vote in the 5 states. 690 seats are at stake, with 23 reserved for SC/ST candidates. 1.85 lakh polling stations will be prepared for the election process.

The electoral roll of Goa will be published on January 5, Manipur on January 12, Punjab January 5, Uttarakhand on January 10 and Uttar Pradesh on January 12, Zaidi added.

The EC has imposed the Model Code of Conduct in the states with immediate effect, the CEC said.

Zaidi said the height of voting compartments has been increased to 30 feet to ensure further secrecy. He added in order to promote women’s empowerment, some polling booths will be manned entirely by women.

Every polling station will have 4 posters showing the dos and don’ts of voting.

“The limit for expenses for candidates is Rs 28 lakh for UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rs 20 lakh for Manipur and Goa,” Zaidi said.

Zaidi also stated the EC would completely abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict that has banned seeking of votes in the name of religion, caste and creed.

The Election Commission on Wednesday held a meeting with chief electoral officers of poll-bound states to finetune arrangements. The assessment of law and order situation, deployment of polling personnel, safety and electronic voting machines and strict implementation of the model code of conduct were discussed.

Manipur got special mention because of recent disturbances by Naga groups.

In its report to the Election Commission, the Union Home Ministry has conveyed the ground situation in Manipur following the blockade of National Highway 2 by United Naga Council, and the state government’s alleged “failure” to resume normal traffic even after 60 days.

“In the report, the Home Ministry told the EC about the ongoing tension and the grave situation prevailing in Manipur. The EC may independently make an assessment of the situation so that election can be conducted properly,” a top Home Ministry official told news agency PTI.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry will provide around 85,000 security personnel in the upcoming Assembly elections.

At a high-level meeting with the Election Commission, top officials of the Ministry led by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, conveyed it would provide around 750 companies of paramilitary forces for the poll process.

In addition, around 100 companies, most of which belong to State Armed Police Forces and India Reserve Battalions, will also be drawn from different states for election duty.

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