Elections to the 17th Lok Sabha for 543 parliamentary constituencies will begin on April 11 and be held over seven phases until May 19 , Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora announced in New Delhi on Sunday.
The counting of votes for all the phases will be held on May 23, the country’s top election official told reporters.
Voting for the first phase will take place on April 11; the second phase on April 18; the third phase on April 23; fourth phase on April 29; fifth phase on May 6; sixth phase on May 12 and voting for the last phase will be held on May 19, said Arora.
A total of 91 Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls in 20 states in the first phase, he said.
Giving the seat break-up of the remaining six phases, CEC revealed that 97 Lok Sabha seats in 13 states will go to polls during the second phase; 115 seats over 14 states in the third phase; 71 seats in nine states in the fourth phase; 51 seats in seven states in the fifth phase; 59 seats in seven states in the sixth phase; and 59 seats in eight states will go to polls during the seventh and final phase.
Elections to state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha will be held simultaneously with the elections to the Lok Sabha, said the CEC, adding that a separate notification will be issued on assembly polls.
He said that in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, only parliamentary elections will take place.
The elections would involve an electorate of approximately 90 crore voters , with eight crore new voters, said the CEC, flanked by the other two election commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra. He pointed out that number reflected an increase from 81 crore voters during 2014 elections.
The Election Commission announced that the Model Code of Conduct had come immediately into effect following their announcement of the poll schedule. As per the Model Code of Conduct, no major policy decision can be announced by the central and the concerned stated governments until the new representatives are elected.
“Any violation of the MCC will be dealt in the strictest manner,” emphasised Arora.
There will be approximately 10 lakh polling booths, compared to nine lakh polling booths during 2014 Lok Sabha elections, said Arora.
The voting exercise will be carried out with the help of electronic voting machines and VVPATs, which will be used with all the EVMs during the elections, said Arora.
He revealed that approx 16.35 lakh EVMs could be used during the voting, along with more than 17 lakh VVPATs. “Mandatory VVPAT slip counting to tally EVM results will take place in one polling booth per assembly,” said Arora.