Lok Sabha Polls To Be Held In 7 Phases From April 19

The Lok Sabha polls will be conducted in seven phases beginning the 19th of next month. The counting will take place on 4th June.

The Election Commission today announced the poll schedule for the General Election 2024 as well as for the assembly polls in four states. In the first phase, the polling will be conducted in 102 Lok Sabha seats on 19th April while in the second phase, 89 seats will go to poll on 26th April.

The poll for the third phase will be held on 7th May for 94 seats while 96 seats will go to the poll in the fourth phase on 13th May. In the fifth phase, 49 Parliamentary constituencies will have polling on 20th May and in the sixth phase, 57 seats will have voting on 25th May.

The last and seventh phase of polling will be held on 1st June for 57 Lok Sabha seats. Announcing the poll schedule in New Delhi, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said 22 states and UTs including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to poll in a single phase. Karnataka, Rajasthan, Manipur and Tripura will have voting in two phases while Chhattisgarh and Assam will go to poll in three phases for Lok Sabha.

Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand will have polling in four phases and in Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir, the polling will be held in five phases. In Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, the voting will be conducted in seven phases.

The Election Commission also announced the poll schedule for the assembly polls in Sikkim, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and  Arunachal Pradesh. The 32-member Sikkim assembly and 60-member Arunachal Pradesh assembly will go to polls in a single phase along with the Lok Sabha elections on 19th April.

Similarly, the election for 175 member Andhra Pradesh assembly will be conducted in a single phase on 13th May and polling for the 147-member Odisha assembly will be held in four phases on 13th, 20th, 25th May and 1st June along with the Lok Sabha polls.

With the announcement of the poll schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force.  The Chief Election Commissioner said the ECI team is fully prepared for the biggest festival of Indian democracy. He said the country has 97 crore registered voters and over 10.5 lakh polling stations manned by 1.5 crore personnel.

He added there will be 1.82 crore first-time voters in this election. Mr Kumar highlighted that the Commission is ready to facilitate vote from home for electors over 85 years of age and for persons with disabilities.

He also said political parties will have to explain why they have fielded a candidate with serious criminal cases in the elections. He said adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the poll is conducted smoothly.

CEC Rajiv Kumar said the daunting challenges in conducting free and fair elections are 4Ms – muscle, money, misinformation, and MCC violations. He asserted that ECI has put in place measures to deal with these disruptive challenges. He also said drone-based checking will be done on polling day to check the use of muscle power.

He underlined that there is no place for bloodbath and violence in the elections and the Commission will be ruthless if violence takes place anywhere during polls.

Mr. Kumar said the enforcement agencies have been directed to plug the inflow and distribution of liquor, cash, freebies and drugs. He added that the Commission has also asked the agencies to do strict vigil of online cash transfers.

The CEC also highlighted that directions have been given to election machinery, parties on waste management, minimum paper use and reducing carbon footprint for sustainable elections. He said 2100 observers will be deployed to ensure free and fair elections.

The term of the current Lok Sabha is ending on 16th June this year. The country has 543 Lok Sabha seats out of which 84 Parliamentary constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Caste and 47 for Schedule Tribes. Our correspondent reports that by-polls for 26 assembly seats in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura will also be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

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