to the 117-member Punjab assembly will be held on February 20, the Election Commission
of India (ECI) confirmed on Monday. The elections were originally scheduled for
February 14 but were postponed after requests from the Punjab government and other political parties in light of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti
Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that a large number of the Scheduled Caste community, which
comprise 32% of Punjab’s population, will be travelling to Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi
from February 10 to 16 and will therefore be unable to vote. Guru Ravidas
Jayanti is observed on February 16.
The ECI said that the Chief Minister, the Punjab government and a number of other political parties had requested for the elections to be postponed.
statement, the ECI said, “They have also brought to the notice that a large
number of devotees start moving for Varanasi around a week before the day of
celebration and keeping the poll day on 14 February 2022 will deprive a large
number of electors from voting.
considering these new facts emerging out of these representations, inputs from
the state government and Chief Electoral Officer, past precedence and all facts
and circumstances in the matter, now commission has decided to reschedule the
elections,” it added.
The BJP and its ally the Punjab Lok Congress, led by former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, had also requested the elections to be deferred.
According to the revised schedule, notification will now be issued on January 25 and the last date filing nomination is February 1.
The date of scrutiny of nominations will be February 2 and the last date for withdrawal will be February 4.
The counting of votes will be on March 10 for all the five poll-going states — UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.