Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said that elections to Lok Sabha, three State Assemblies and by-elections will be held simultaneously in nine phases from 7th April to 12th May. The counting of votes will happen on 16th May and the results are expected to be announced on the same day.
Simultaneous polling for Lok Sabha and Assembly in Andhra Pradesh will be held in two phases on 30th April and 7th May. The CEC said that the Appointed Day for formation of Telangana would have no impact on the elections as the ECI was conducting polling based on the present boundaries. “Whoever gets elected, as per the law, they will automatically become MLAs and MPs of those States after their formation,” he said.
Polling in the Telangana region will be held on 30th April while Seemandhra region will go to polls on 7th May.
Six Lok Sabha seats in two states will go to polls on 7th April; 7 LS seats in 5 States on 9th April; 92 LS Seats in 14 States on 10th April; 5 LS in 3 States on 12th April; 122 LS in 13 States on 17th April; 117 LS seats in 12 States on 24th April; 89 LS seats in 9 States on 30th April; 64 LS seats in 7 States on 7th May and 41 Lok Sabha seats in 3 States on 12th May.
The counting for all the seats, both Lok Sabha and State Assembly and by-elections will be held on 16th May.
As many as 20 States will have polling in single phase. They are Arunachal Pradesh (9th April); Goa (17th April); Gujarat (30th April); Haryana (10th April); Himachal Pradesh (7th May); Karantaka (17th April); Kerela (10th April); Meghalaya (9th April); Mizoram (9th April); Nagaland (9th April); Punjab (30th April); Sikkim (12th May); Tamil Nadu (24th April); Andaman & Nicobar Island (10th April); Chandigarh (10th April); Dadra & Nagar Haveli (30th April); Daman & Diu (30th April); Lakshadeep (10th April); Delhi (10th April) and Puducherry (24th April).
Some States will have polling in two phases. They include Andhra Pradesh (30th April & 7th May); Manipur (9th April & 17th April); Tirupura (7th April & 12th April); Rajasthan (17th & 24th April) and Odisha (10th April and 17th April)
Other States including Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh will have polling in three to six phases.
The Chief Election Commissioner described the 16th General Elections as yet another milestone in the history of Indian democracy. He informed that the term of 15th Lok Sabha will end on 1st June while the term of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkam assemblies will end on 2nd June, 7th June and 25th May respectively. He said the ECI held series of prepatory meetings with recognised political parties, officials and other stake holders seeking their cooperation in conducting free and fair elections. He said that the factors like festivals and seasonal conditions were also taken into consideration while finalising the schedule.
Sampath informed that there are 81.4 crore voters across the country and a special drive would be taken up on 9th March to enroll fresh voters or to facilitate the voters to check missing names or carry out other corrections. He said that number of voters have increased by almost 10 crore compared to the General Elections held in 2009.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with NOTA (None Of The Above) option will be used for the polling to be held in about 9.30 lakh polling stations across the country. The CEC said that the number of polling stations have increased by 12 per cent compared to last elections. This time a photo voter slip has also been introduced. Presently, over 96 per cent of voters have photo identity card and percentage is likely to go up to 98-99 per cent.
Sampath said that the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect immediately. The Election Commission would take special measures to check the expenditure by candidates and political parties. “Use of money power is a matter of concern for the Elections Commission. Special emphasis is given to check the use of money power during the elections process. Besides deployment of expenditure observers, check posts, flying squads and video surveillance will be done,” he said.
The CEC appealed to the voters to participate in large numbers and asked the parties and candidates to ensure a free and fair election.