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Page last updated at 08:40 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 09:40 UK

India state elections announced

Voters queue up in India (File photo)
General elections are due in India early next year

Assembly elections will begin in five Indian states next month.

Voting will be held in Rajasthan, Delhi, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said.

Polling will take place from 14 November to 4 December. No decision has been made about Kashmir elections.

Parliamentary elections are due in the first half of next year and analysts say the state polls will give a sense of how the electorate may vote then.

No Kashmir date

Elections in Indian-administered Kashmir are not planned for now, the Election Commission said.

"No decision has been taken with regard to the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. We are still assessing the situation," Mr Gopalaswamy said.

The polling dates elsewhere are 14 November, 20 November, 25 November, 29 November and 4 December.

Voting will be held in the central state of Chhattisgarh in two phases on 14 November and 20 November.

The capital, Delhi, and the north-eastern state of Mizoram will vote on 29 November.

Madhya Pradesh in central India will go to the polls on 25 November, while the western state of Rajasthan will vote on 4 December.

The counting of votes will take place on 8 December for all states with electronic machines.

Major issues

Analysts say the assembly elections will test the political temperature before the general election which is due in early 2009.

India's governing Congress Party will be looking to return to power for the next five years while the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be fighting to defeat the Congress.

The global economic meltdown has had serious repercussions for the Indian economy and growth has been hit in the past year.

Rising inflation and increasing prices of essentials, including foodstuff, will be a major issue in the elections.

The deteriorating security situation will also be a consideration with voters in a country which has seen a series of bomb explosions in the last few months.

Many Indian cities, including Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and the capital Delhi, have been hit by blasts recently.

The BJP has been campaigning for a tougher anti-terror law to deal with the blast cases.


SEE ALSO
Can India rethink Kashmir policy?
01 Sep 08 |  South Asia

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