March 4, 2014

Lok Sabha polls to start on April 7: CEC

The Lok Sabha polls will start from 7thApril and the counting of votes will be held on 16th May, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.

       Total electorate in the Lok Sabha elections is 81.4 crore, an increase of about 10 crore over last elections.
       Model Code of Conduct for parties and governments to come into force with immediate effect.
       Electoral rolls updated as of January 1, 2014, published in all states.
       NOTA (None of the Above) option to be used for first time in Lok Sabha polls.
       In all elections will be held in nine phases upto May 12.
       First phase of polling to cover six constituencies in two states.
       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 day of poll on April 12 to cover three states and five constituencies.
       Fifth day of poll on April 17 in 13 states and UTs covering 122 constituencies.
       Sixth day of poll on April 24 covering 117 constituencies in 12 states.
       Seventh day of poll on April 30 in 89 constituencies in nine states.
       Eighth day of poll on May 7 in seven states covering 64 constituencies.
       Last date of poll on May 12 covering three states and 41 constituencies.

With the announcement of poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.
Polling is likely to commence from the second week of April and may be spread over six to seven phases, the longest so far, highly placed sources said.
The probable dates for the commencement of polling are between 7th and 10th April, the sources in the Election Commission had said.
As of now, the plan is to have the voting exercise involving an electorate of 81 crore in six to seven phases. The 2009 polls were held in five phases from 16th April to 13th May.
The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on 1st June and the new House has to be constituted by 31st May.
Along with the Lok Sabha election, Andhra Pradesh, including the regions comprising Telangana, Odisha and Sikkim will go to polls to elect new assemblies.
It could be the first time the country witnesses elections over such a long period in six or seven phases.
The sources had said that the attempt is to maximize use of forces and the polling days.
In the first phase, polling is expected to be held in some of the Naxal-hit states and in some northeastern states.
For the first time in parliamentary polls, a system of paper trail for electronic voting will be introduced in some constituencies on a trial basis.
There have been demands that a paper trail should be in place so that a fool-proof record is created and controversies avoided in case of a dispute or an election petition filed in courts.
The Commission has also issued guidelines to political parties asking them to explain the rationale of financing the promises they make in their election manifestos.
The guidelines that followed Supreme Court directions in this regard have now been made part of the Model Code.
An estimated 81.4 crore voters will be eligible to vote in the coming elections after 9.71 crore new voters have been added to the rolls since the last elections.
From the coming elections, candidates in a parliamentary constituency in bigger states can spend up to Rs 70 lakh on their campaign, up from Rs 40 lakh in 2011. In the 2009 elections, it was Rs 25 lakh.
Another first in the Lok Sabha elections will be the introduction of "None of the Above" (NOTA) option in voting, which came into vogue in the assembly elections a few months ago.
The electoral rolls are ready after being updated with January one this year as the cut-off date.
A total of 1.1 crore poll personnel, half of them being security forces, will be deployed for the smooth conduct of polls and to ensure that they are free and fair.
Poll officials said the database of the civilian staff to be deployed for conducting polls has been prepared and at least 5.5 million civilian staff would be deployed.
The list of central government employees to be deployed for poll duty as micro-observers in sensitive polling stations has also been prepared.