New Delhi: Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held over two phases on December 9 and 14, the Election Commission announced today, setting the stage for a high-stakes battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress.

Counting will take place on December 18, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said at a press conference here.

The Model Code of Conduct comes into immediate effect, he said.

The poll process will start on November 14 with the issue of the gazette notification for the first phase. Candidates can start filing their nominations from that day.

The first phase will be held in 89 of the 182 seats and will cover 19 of 33 districts.

The notification for the second phase will be issued on November 20 for remaining 93 assembly seats.

Paper trail of votes will be used in all the 50,128 polling stations in the state to ensure transparency, Joti said.

The voters will be able to see their votes cast through the Voter-Verified Paper Trail Audit (VVPAT) machines.

The Commission has also set up 182 all-women polling stations, one in each assembly constituency.

Joti said CCTV cameras will be used at border checkposts to prevent the smuggling of liquor and money and to stop anti-social elements from entering the state.

“Elections in Gujarat have always been peaceful and the Commission will take all steps to ensure that,” the CEC said.

PTI