EC may announce Lok Sabha polls’ dates in March; simultaneous polls in several states likely

Assembly elections are also expected in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and J&K, along with the Lok Sabha polls

PTI
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Agencies

With the country already in election mode, the formal schedule for the coming Lok Sabha polls is expected to be announced by the Election Commission in the first week of March and the process is likely to be over seven to nine phases.

Assembly elections are also expected in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls. Jammu and Kashmir could also be added to the list as Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said in Parliament that government had no objection if the Election Commission wanted to go ahead with such a proposal.

There is a possibility that the EC may go by the precedent and hold assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls.

The Election Commission is in the process of deciding the number of phases and the months in which polling would be held, they said.

The charting of the phases would also depend on the availability of security forces and other requirements, the sources said, adding the announcement of the mega exercise is likely to be made in first week of March.

Sources said a final decision has not been taken on the dates but the poll panel is likely to finalise an April-May schedule of election that will entail the end of election process by the middle of May. The schedule of 2014 general elections was announced on March 5 and that of 2009 elections on March 2.

The sources said that the poll panel is making necessary logistical calculations in terms of examination schedules, holidays and availability of security forces for what is the largest democratic exercise in the world.

The term of the present Lok Sabha will end on June 3, that of Sikkim Assembly on May 27, Andhra Pradesh assembly on June 18, Odisha assembly on June 11 and Arunachal Pradesh assembly on June 1.

(with inputs from PTI and IANS)

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