New Delhi [India], Mar 10 (ANI): Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday announced the schedule for the 17th Lok Sabha election, which will be held in seven phases beginning April 11. The final phase of voting will take place on May 19. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Announcing the election schedule, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said: “The gazette notification will be issued on March 18. The last date of nomination of first phase polling will be March 25.”
“The last date for withdrawal of candidature for the first phase is March 28. The first phase polling will take place on April 11. The date of counting will be May 23, 2019. As many as 91 constituencies in 20 states will go to polls in the first phase,” he said.
Arora, who talking to media persons here at Vigyan Bhawan, said: “The phase two polling will be on April 18, third phase on April 23, fourth phase on April 29, fifth phase on May 6, sixth phase on May 12, and the phase seven polling will take place on May 19.”
Arora said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will come into force from today itself in the entire country. “Any violation will be dealt in a stringent manner,” he said.
“The Election Commission of India has attempted every comprehensive preparation for the conduct of election for the 17th Lok Sabha, which is free, fair, inclusive, ethical, participatory and also festive,” added CEC Arora.
The CEC also stated that the examination schedule of all state boards and occasions like festivals, harvest season, etc were taken into consideration while fixing the poll dates.
“The panel held deliberations with several departments, including railways, to ensure smooth movement and facilitation during the conduct of polls,” said Arora.
He also informed that the final electoral roles have about 900 million voters. “This marks an increase of 84.3 million voters since 2014. There are 15 million voters in the age group of 18-19. The number of polling booth has also increased from 9 lakh to 10 lakh,” he said.
“VVPATs will be used along with EVMs at all polling stations. Adequate numbers of both have been made available for smooth conduct of election exercise. There will be mandatory VVPAT slip count at randomly selected polling station per assembly segment,” he said.
Arora also said that candidates are required to furnish details of their social media account.
“All advertisement on social media will also require pre-certification. All expenditure on campaigning advertisement in social media is to be included in the election expenditure account,” said Arora.
Soon after the announcement of election dates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to twitter encouraging people to vote in the upcoming elections.
"The festival of democracy, Elections are here. I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers," said Prime Minister Modi.
Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra were also present during Sunday’s announcement press conference.
The tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha expires on June 3.
The Lok Sabha elections in India are the biggest democratic exercise in the world. Indian electorate will be voting to elect Members of Parliament (MP) for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Since 2004, the consecutive government has completed its full five-year tenure and the General Elections have been taking place in months of April-May.
Lok Sabha polls 2014 were held in nine-phases with the election schedule being announced on March 5. The 2014 LS polls electoral exercise was spread over months of April and May with the first phase of polling taking place on April 7 and the last phase being on May 12. (ANI)