Election shedule released

New Delhi : The high-stake elections for the 16th Lok Sabha will be held in nine phases spread over 36 days in April and May.The Election Commission on Wednesday announced the poll schedule and brought into force the model code of conduct with immediate effect. The first phase of the polling will be held on April 7 and the last on May 12. The counting of votes in all the 543 constituencies involving an electorate of 81.4 crore will be held on a single day on May 16, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath announced at a press conference releasing the election schedule. Three State Assemblies — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim — that are completing their terms will also have the simultaneous polls along with the Lok Sabha elections and so will be 23 by-elections to eight State Assemblies, including seven in Gujarat, six in West Bengal, four in Uttar Pradesh, and one each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The unbifurcated Andhra Pradesh will go for the due Assembly polls on April 30 and May 7, Odisha Assembly polls on April 10 and 17 while Sikkim is the third state to have simultaneous Assembly polls on April 12 along with the Lok Sabha elections.As regards bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Sampath said the commission is holding the elections while there is a seamless arrangement for creation of two states on the Appointed Date of June 2 notified by the government under the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation Act.The 2014 general election pitting Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi in a virtual Presidential-style contest with a number of other PM aspirants thrown in will be held between April 7 and May 12 on nine days, the highest number of phases so far.There would be several firsts in these elections including the option of NOTA (none of the above) on a national basis for the first time.The fledgling Aam Admi Party (AAP), led by Arvind Kejriwal, who has upset the poll calculations of most of the established political parties, is in the fray for the first time.

EC announces 9-phase election for 16th Lok Sabha; Simultaneous polls for AP, Odisha, Sikkim Assemblies; Model code of conduct comes into force

Flanked by Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi, Sampath was at pains to explain the difference between nine polling days and phases saying the whole process from Wednesday to counting of votes on May 16 would be over in 72 days, three days less than it took in the last elections.
The first polling day on April 7 will cover six Lok Sabha constituencies in two States–Assam and Tripura — while the second on April 9 will cover seven constituencies in five States–Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. As many as 92 constituencies will go to polls in 14 States on the third day on April 10, while a small number of five seats in three States will be covered on the fourth day on April 12. The largest chunk of 122 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls in 13 States on April 17, the fifth day of poll, while the sixth day will witness polling in 117 seats in 12 States on April 24.

The seventh day of polling on April 30 will choose representatives in 89 constituencies spread over nine States, including yet-to-born Telangana and the eighth day on May 7 will cover 64 seats in seven States, including AP. Polling will conclude on the ninth day on May 12 with elections in 41 constituencies in three States. On the menace of ‘paid news’, he said the commission would keep a close watch on the expenditures of the candidates. There is no law right now to deal with the issue and so the commission has proposed that it should be made an electoral offence, the CEC said.BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi welcomed the announcement. Soon after the announcement of the poll schedule, Modi tweeted that the ‘poll bugle has been sounded…a historic opportunity to lay the foundation for a developed India’. Modi’s tweet was obviously aimed at projecting his image of Vikas Purush. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari made a veiled attack at Modi when he said ‘this election is significant because it is a contest between two sets of ideologies: The ideology of growth and inclusion pitted against the divisive and fundamentalist ideology.”

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