The Election Commission of India on Monday announced to change the polling date for the Punjab Assembly election. As per the ECI, polling will now be held in a single phase on February 20. Notably, voting for Punjab’s 117 assembly seats was earlier scheduled for February 14. However, political parties urged the poll panel to change the date in view of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti on February 16.
Almost all the political parties BJP, BSP, SAD (Sanyukt) and Punjab Lok Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh had requested the poll panel to reschedule the polls. Congress leader and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi too had urged the EC to defer the polls by six days in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
Guru Ravidas Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas. It is celebrated on Magh Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Magh month of the Hindu calendar. Guru Ravidas was born in the 14th century in Seer Govardhanpur village near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. On this day, followers of Guru Ravidas visit Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan in Varanasi to offer prayers. This year, the pilgrimage will be held from February 10 to 16. Guru Ravidass Jayanti is also a holiday in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states.
Political parties argued that lakhs of devotees visit Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate the day and they would not be able to cast their votes in Punjab due to the pilgrimage.
The results will be announced on March 10 along with the results of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, the ECI stated.