Finally the big news for which all parties were waiting is here: The Election Commission of India announced that Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will all hold their Assembly elections in February and March. Here are the specific dates for each state:
Uttar Pradesh (403 seats): Polls will be held in seven phases – February 11, February 15, February 19, February 23, February 27, March 4 and March 8.
Goa (40 seats): Elections on February 4 in a single phase.
Punjab (117 seats): Elections on February 4 in a single phase.
Uttarakhand (71 seats): Elections on February 15 in a single phase.
Manipur (60 seats): Polls will be held in two phases on March 4 and March 8.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that the code of conduct will start immediately in these states. Further, the EC set an election expenditure cap for each candidate at Rs 28 lakh for UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand and at Rs 20 lakh for Manipur and Goa.
The counting dates for all states is March 11. These elections which are the most crucial in terms of not only timing( first one after demonetization) but also the sheer number of seats involved( these five states have nearly 16 crore eligible voters) will be very closely watched.