Chandigarh, January 4: The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the assembly poll dates for all five states on Tuesday. ECI chief Nasim Zaidi held a press conference on Wednesday and announced that elections in Goa and Punjab will be held on February 4 in the single phase.
The polls in Uttarakhand will be held on February 15 while Manipur will witness two-phase elections and polling dates are March 4 and March 8.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh consisting of 403 assembly seats will have 7 phases of polls. The elections in UP will take place on February 11, February 15, February 19, February 23, February 27, March 4 and March 8.
Punjab Assembly Polls
At present, there are 117 constituencies in Punjab and this time the state will witness triangular polls with the entry of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Parkash Singh Badal is the current Chief Minister and Leader of the House.
Earlier in 2012, the race in Punjab was between Badal-led SAD and Captain Amarinder Singh-led Indian National Congress. SAD contested on 94 seats and won 54 while BJP could only bag 12 seats out of 24.
INC contested on 117 seats and won 46. Later, SAD and BJP entered the alliance to form the government in the state. However, this time AAP is expected play a major spoiler in the polls for SAD and Congress.
Just minutes after the announcement of poll dates by Nasim Zaidi, Navjot Kaur informed that her husband Navjot Singh Sidhu will contest from Amritsar East. Sidhu had earlier formed Awaaz-e-Punjab with Bains brothers and Pargat Singh but it did not stay intact for long.
Days later, Pargat Singh joined Congress while Bains brothers went with AAP. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal conducted several rallies in Punjab to woo the voters and huge crowds were spotted in the public speeches. HS Phoolka, Bhagwant Mann, Capt Bikramajit Singh Pahuwindia, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Jarnail Singh are being considered some of the strong contenders the party has fielded.
In the Sikh majority state of Punjab, there are several election issues like unemployment & lack of skills, farmers' crises, continually failing economy, patronage, influence peddling & nepotism, atrocities against Dalits and several others. AAP seem to have struck a chord with the people of the state.