NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Sunday announced that Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and polling would be held over seven phases through May 19, followed by counting of all votes on May 23.
“Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal, Odisha and Sikkim will also be held simultaneously”, the Election Commission (EC) said.
“However, elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, which was dissolved after the ruling coalition between the BJP and the PDP fell apart, will not be held along with the Lok Sabha polls”, they added.
“The model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from Sunday and 10 lakhs polling stations would be set up this time as against about nine lakhs in 2014”, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.
“Nearly 90 crore voters would be eligible to vote for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country”, he added.
Announcing the schedule for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission said the voter-verifiable paper audit trail' (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time.
As per the report, the first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19, counting of votes for all seven phases covering 543 Lok Sabha constituencies would take place on May 23.
In the first phase, 91 constituencies will to go for polls, 97 constituencies in the second phase, 115 constituencies in the third, 71 in fourth phase, 51 in fifth phase, 59 in sixth and 59 in the seventh phase.
With the model code of conduct for elections coming into immediate effect, the government cannot announce any policy move that may impact voters' decision.
“All political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification”, Arora said.
In 2014, when the BJP swept to power, the Lok Sabha elections were held across nine phases beginning April 7 and ending May 9. The counting of votes had taken place on May 16.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the NDA to a sweeping victory in 2014 as it won 336 of 543 Lok Sabha seats, reducing the incumbent Congress to its lowest total of 44 seats. The BJP on its own won a majority, a first for the party, by bagging 282 seats.
With inputs from PTI
Image credit: New Indian Express