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The whole team of the Election Commission of India (ECI) will begin its visit to poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat today, September 22, to assess the readiness of the poll machinery in the two states, according to the news agency PTI.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey are on a three-day visit to poll-bound Himachal Pradesh beginning Thursday. The team has kick-started the preparations for the upcoming assembly elections.

During the visit, they will meet top state government officials to review preparations and ensure that measures are being taken for the smooth conduct of elections.

The officials are likely to visit Gujarat on Monday, September 26 for the same purpose. It is usual for the Election Commission to visit poll-bound states before the announcement of elections.

Previously, Himachal Pradesh went to polls on November 9, 2017, while Gujarat exercised its franchise in two phases -- December 9 and 14 in the same year. The tenures of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assemblies will end on January 8, 2023, and February 23, 2023, respectively.

In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP defeated the Congress in 2017 to come to power. The Congress is gearing up to challenge the BJP in the largely bipolar hill state, where the AAP is trying to get a foothold.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a youth rally on 24 September in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, ahead of the likely assembly elections this year.

On the other hand, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal had last week also held town hall meetings in Gujarat where he interacted with auto-rickshaw drivers, lawyers, and other people.

During his multiple visits to Gujarat in the recent past, Kejriwal had announced a slew of "guarantees", including free electricity up to 300 units per month, allowances for women and unemployed youth, free and quality healthcare and education, and the creation of jobs.


(With PTI inputs)









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