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Assembly elections in 4 states likely in two phases – October and December 

By Alok Singh

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Election Commission is set to announce the schedule for the upcoming assembly elections this week, with polling in Haryana and Maharashtra to be clubbed together in October while elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand would be held in December, sources in the poll panel here said.

Informed EC sources said the assembly elections would be held in two phases — the first phase in Haryana and Maharashtra and the second phase in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand. “Due to security reasons, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand would see polling in December. In these two states, the deployment of much more forces is required,” the sources, not wishing to be identified, told IANS.

The dates for the elections in Haryana and Maharashtra will be announced this week, while for the other two states the schedule will be announced after the first phase. Earlier, speculation was that all four states would have elections together. The elections in these states are keenly awaited by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which got a thumping victory in the April-May Lok Sabha elections. In all four states, the BJP intends to repeat its winning streak and the party’s senior leaders have started campaigning in these states.

The legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir comprises 87 members. The last assembly elections were held in 2008. Presently, the state is being run by a National Conference-Congress alliance. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is ruling Jharkhand with the Congress. The legislative assembly comprises 81 members. The last assembly election was held in December 2009.

The Haryana assembly comprises 82 members while the Maharashtra assembly has 288 members. Both states are presently ruled by the Congress. “If elections are declared in all four states in the same period, the model code of conduct will come into effect there, which may halt the development works in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir,” another source said.

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