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On Sunday, nearly a month before Punjab votes to elect its new government, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi urged the EC to postpone the February 14 Assembly polls by six days in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

The Election Commission on Monday announced that it has decided to postpone the date of Punjab Assembly polls from February 14 to February 20 following requests by Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi and political partiesto defer the elections in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti which will be observed on February 16.

The date of notification will be issued on January 25, and the state would go to polls on February 20. The counting of votes will be done on March 10.

“After consideration of all facts made available, Election Commission has announced 2022 General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of State of Punjab on 8th January 2022 under which notification for the election is to be issued on 21st January 2022 and poll is to take place on 14th February 2022,” the EC said in a statement.

“Commission has received several representations from State Government, Political Parties and other organizations drawing attention regarding movement of a large number of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Sri Guru Ravidas Ji Jayanti celebrations, which is observed on 16th February 2022. 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 14th February 2022 will deprive large number of electors from voting. In view of this, they have requested to shift the poll date few days after 16th February 2022,” it added.

On Sunday, nearly a month before Punjab votes to elect its new government, Channi had urged the EC to postpone the February 14 Assembly polls by six days in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, Channi wrote that it was brought to his notice by some representatives of the Scheduled Castes community, which comprises around 32 per cent of the state’s population, that the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.

On this occasion, a large number of SC devotees (about 20 lakh) from the state are likely to visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to 16, Channi wrote. “In such a situation, many people from this community would not be able to cast their votes for the state assembly, which is otherwise their constitutional right,” he stated in the letter written on January 13.

The EC noted that the Commission has also taken inputs from state government and Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer in this regard.

“After 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 General Elections to Legislative Assembly of Punjab,” it said..

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