The Election Commission of India will announce the dates for the high-stakes assembly elections in Delhi on Monday at 3:30pm.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had swept the last elections, winning 67 of the 70 seats in 2015.
“The final electoral rolls for the elections are to be published on January 6. The custom is that polls are announced only once that is frozen,” a senior Delhi election office official, who asked not to be named, has said.
“It is likely to be a single-phase affair,” he said.
The term of the assembly ends on February 22, 2020.
“The Delhi elections could be held any day between February 7 and 14. But it will be conducted before February 15 because CBSE [Central Board of Secondary Education] board exams for classes 10 and 12 will begin that day. During elections, schools are used for polling,” an ECI official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
Delhi will have 14.5 million voters, who will cast their ballots in at least 13,000 polling stations, as per the last draft rolls published in November.
The booths will be manned by more than 100,000 personnel in the upcoming elections and as many government employees will be on election duty.
A third official said the possibility that the elections would be held by the second week of February also stemmed from the fact that the city is under heightened security cover between January 15 and 30 due to Republic Day celebrations, and the Union Budget is slated to be presented in Parliament on February 1.
Delhi will see three parties — the ruling AAP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress — fighting it out in the assembly elections.
“We are ready for the elections... Our campaign began weeks after the Lok Sabha results in May,” Gopal Rai, the AAP’s Delhi unit convener, said.
The BJP, which won just three seats in the last elections, said it will soon start a door-to-door campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already kicked off the BJP’s campaign at the Ramlila Maidan, focusing both on national and local issues.
“In the campaign, we will tell the public about the failures of the government and highlight the welfare works done by the central government for the people of Delhi,” said Tarun Chug, a national secretary of the BJP.
The Congress, which did not win a single seat in 2015, said the party is reaching out to voters through public meetings.
The chief of Congress’ Delhi unit, Subhash Chopra, said, “Our campaign will be focused on the work done by the party in the past and what we intend to do in the future.”