EC announces Lok Sabha poll schedule, J&K to vote in 5 phases

KL Report

New Delhi

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday announced the schedule for Lok Sabha polls 2014. Polling will be held in nine phases from April 07 to May 12 and the counting of votes will be held on May 16.  The people of Jammu and Kashmir will vote for 6 Lok Sabha seats on April 10 (1), 17 (1), 24 (1), 30 (1), and May 7 (2)

Phase 1: April 7 in two states

Phase 2: April 9 – five states

Phase 3: April 10 – 14 states

Phase 4: April 12 – three states

Phase 5: pril 17 – 13 states

Phase 6: April 24 – 12 states

Phase 7: April 30 – nine states

Phase 8: May 7 – seven states

Phase 9: May 12 – 3 states.

State-wise schedule:

Andhra Pradesh (40 constituencies): April 30 (17 seats), May 7 (25)

Arunachal Pradesh (2): April 9

Assam (14): April 7 (5), April 12 (3), April 24 (6)

Bihar (40): April 10 (6), 17 (7), 24 (7), 30 (7) and May 7 (7), 12 (6)

Chhattisgarh (11): April 10 (1), 17 (3), 24 (7)

Goa (2): April 7 (2)

Gujarat (26): April 30 (26)

Haryana (10): April 10 (10)

Himachal Pradesh (4): May 7 (4)

Jammu and Kashmir (6): April 10 (1), 17 (1), 24 (1), 30 (1), May 7 (2)

Jharkhand (14): April 10 (5), 17 (5), 24 (4)

Karnataka (28) – April17 (28)

Kerala (20): April 10 (20)

Madhya Pradesh (29): April 10 (9), 17 (10), 24 (10)

Maharashtra (48): April 10 (10), 17 (19), 24 (19)

Manipur (2): April 9 (1), 17 (1)

Meghalaya (2): April 9 (2)

Mizoram (1): April 9 (1)

Nagaland (1): April 9 (1)

Odisha (21): April 10 (10), 17 (11)

Punjab (13): April 30 (13)

Rajasthan (25) – April 17 (20), 24 (5)

Sikkim (1): April 12 (1)

Tamil Nadu (39): April 24 (39)

Tripura (2): April 7 (1), 12 (1)

Uttar Pradesh (80): April 10 (10), 17 (11), 24 (12), 30 (14), May 7 (15), 12 (18)

Uttarakhand (5): May 7 (5)

West Bengal (42): April 17 (4), 24 (6), 30 (9), May 7 (6), 12 (17)

Union Territories

Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1): April 10 (1)

Chandigarh (1): April 10 (1)

Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1): April 30 (1)

Daman and Diu (1): April 30 (1)

Lakshadweep (1): April 10 (1)

Delhi (7): April 10 (7)

Puducherry (1): April 24 (1)

The EC also announced that assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, including the regions comprising Telangana, and Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in the respective states.

The schedule was announced by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Dr Nasim Zaidi at a press conference held at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.

The elections would see more than 81.4 crore voters exercise their ballot; the number of voters is 10 crore more than the last general election held in 2009. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.

The EC said that electoral roll have already been updated till January 1, 2014 and final rolls have been published in all states.

However, the EC has offered one more opportunity to enroll in the electoral rolls. Camps would be set up on March 9 at all polling booths – around 9,30,000 – across the country to allow people to enroll themselves, the EC said.

The Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.

On the security measures being implemented by the EC, Sampath said, “To ensure free and fair elections we have taken particular care to ensure that people living in vulnerable areas and vulnerable voters are in continuous touch with the election machinery to ensure that they are able to vote uninterpreted by anyone.”

“Adequate number of observers in different categories will be deployed during the forthcoming elections,” he added.

On the neutrality of officials engaged in conduct of elections, Sampath said the EC expects them to discharge their duty without fear or favour.

“Strict action will be taken against officials who are found wanting in any aspect,” the CEC said.

With regards to the steps being taken to curb use of money power in the elections, he said, “The Election Commission has mounted a series of measures for monitoring expenditure; special emphasis is given to check flow of money during elections.”

“Besides expenditure observers, sufficient number of flying squads will be employed to check use of money power,” he added.

An important feature of the polls would be the introduction of paper trail system for electronic voting in some constituencies on a trial basis.

Also, the EC has 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.

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.

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.

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