For the first time, the Lok Sabha elections will be held in nine phases — from April 7 to May 12. Announcing the poll schedule on Wednesday, the Election Commisson of India said counting of votes will be done on May 16 and the results will be announced on the same day.
Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in the states of Andhra Pradesh, including the Telangana region, Orissa and Sikkim.
While a bulk of the polling — in as many as 525 constituencies — will take place on six days, only 18 constituencies will vote on the remaining three polling days. The maximum number of constituencies (122 across 13 states) will vote on April 17, followed by 117 constituencies across 12 states on April 24.
Most of the constituencies in the Naxal-affected states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar will vote on April 10, April 17 and April 24. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, polling will be held on six days. In West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir (which has only six constituencies), polling will be held on five days.
The total number of days for the entire electoral process has been brought down from 75 days in 2009 to 72 days this time.
EC officials said various factors like school examinations, holidays, festivals (mainly Bihu in Assam), harvest season in some parts of the country and the weather forecast, particularly about monsoon, had to be taken into consideration. Moreover, the availability of security forces and time taken by them to move from one state to another were also important, they said.
“Keeping in view the interests of the students and also the fact that polling stations are mostly located in school buildings and teachers are engaged as polling personnel, the commission has consciously factored in the examination schedules of various state boards, including the Central Board of Secondary Education, in the process of finalising the poll dates,” said Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath.
He said “other relevant factors like various holidays and festivals falling in the months of March, April and May, harvest season in certain parts of the country and the inputs obtained from the Indian Meteorological Department on the pre-monsoon rainfall, onset and spread of monsoon and acute hot weather conditions in certain parts of the country” had also been taken into consideration.
A staggering 81.4 crore voters, almost 10 crore more than the last Lok Sabha polls, will be eligible to cast their votes this time. According to EC officials, there been a remarkable increase in the enrolment of voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years, with over 2.3 crore voters falling in this age group.
As many as 28,314 transgenders enrolled as “others”, 11,844 overseas electors and 13.28 lakh service electors will also vote during these polls. With an almost 12 per cent increase from last time, the number of polling stations has increased from 8.3 lakh to 9.3 lakh.
The model code of conduct came into force as soon as the poll schedule was announced. “We don’t agree that the model code of conduct is not effective. There is no reason to doubt its efficacy. Also, we never hesitate to use the powers available, but the commission cannot use the powers which are not available to it,” said the CEC. He added that the “model code of conduct is an instrument to ensure that the “level-playing field is not disturbed”.
Here are the highlights:
# Counting of LS polls will take place on May 16: EC.
# There will be 9 poll days starting from April 07.
# Elections to be held on April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24, 30, May 7 and May 12.
# 9 polls days will cover 543 constituencies and respective Assembly constituencies.
# Second phase of poll on April 9 to cover seven constituencies in five states.
# Third phase on April 10 to cover 92 constituencies in 14 states.
# Fourth phase is on April 12 covering three states and five PCs.
# Fifth poll day is April 17 covering 13 states and 122 parliamentary constituencies.
# Sixth poll date is April 24 covering 12 states, 117 PCs
# Seventh poll day is April 30 covering89 PCs in nine states.
# Eighth poll day is May 7 covering seven states and 64 constituencies.
# Ninth poll day is May 12 covering three states and 41 constitutencies.
# EC says all Naxalism-hit seats will be covered in one single day.
# UP and Bihar will be going to polls on the same days.
# Delhi and Haryana will have one poll day, April 10.
# Jharkhand will have three poll days April 10, 17 and 24.
# EC appeals to candidates not to use words that cause personal hurt to rivals.
# There will be flying squads, check posts to keep an on money power: CEC.
# EC has taken measures for expenditure monitoring. Use of money power is a matter of concern: CEC
# Examination schedules for state,central education boards need to be considered for election schedule: EC.
# Strict action will be taken against officials found wanting on any account
# Election slip will serve as a reminder and invitation for voters: EC.
# People living in vulnerable areas will be given adequate protection to exercise their vote: CEC.
# Different observers will be deployed across country for the polls: Election Commission.
# V S Sampath says model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect.
# NOTA facility will be given in 2014 general elections: CEC
# There are nine lakh 30 thousand polling stations, which is 12 per cent more than the polling stations in 2009 elections: CEC.
# On March 9, Sunday, voters can get themselves enrolled across country. On this day officers will verify electoral rolls and allow applications: CEC.
# Another opportunity will be given for voters to enroll before elections: V S Sampath.
# The total electorate is 814 million, 10 crores more than the last Parliament election: EC.
# EC says 16th Lok Sabha has to be in place before May 31.
# Elections are soul of Indian democracy: CEC V S Sampath.
# Parties had highlighted need for holding polls in phased manner in some states: EC.
# Election Commission announces Lok Sabha poll dates.