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2019 Lok Sabha elections | Live updates: Election Commission to announce poll schedule shortly

The Election Commission is announcing the schedule for the high-voltage Lok Sabha elections.

The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.

The notification for the first phase Lok Sabha poll, which is likely to be spread over seven to eight phases in April-May, could be issued by the end of March for voting some time in early April, sources suggested.

As soon as the elections, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his bid to return to power amid hectic parleys by several political parties to put a united fight against the ruling BJP, are announced, the model code of conduct will come into force.

Here are the latest updates:

5.40 p.m.

5.30 p.m.

It’s now time for the polls schedule.  Seven-phase elections instead of nine-phase one like last elections.

Phase 1: Voting on April 11

Phase 2: Voting on April 18

Phase 3: Voting on April  23

Phase 4: Voting on April 29

Phase 5: Voting on May 6

Phase 6: Voting on May 12

Phase 7: Voting on May 19

Date of counting: May 23

No. of seats per phase:

Phase 1: 91 seats in  20 States

Phase 2: 97 seats in 13 States

Phase 3: 115 seats in 14 States

Phase 4: 71 seats in 9 States

Phase 5: 51 seats  in 7 States

Phase 6: 59  seats in 7 States

Phase 7: 59  seats in 8 States

5 pm

The Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the two Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa ansd Sushil Chandra have arrived at the Plenary Hall to announce the 17 Lok Sabha poll dates.

The CEC is now making his introductory remarks. Recalls the first election and how it survived the cynicism of the world democracies then.  He now apprises about the series of the meeting the ECI held in States about poll-preparedness.

Nearly 900 million voters are eligible to vote in the polls. That is more than 84 million more than last polls.  About 10 lakh polling station this time  compared to 9 lakh in 2014 polls

Mr. Arora reiterates the announcement that the photo voter slip is no longer a standalone poll document.

And the last button in the EVMs is the NOTA option. Photos of candidates will be displayed in EVMs for the first time.

VVPATs  to be used with EVMs at all stations. Stringent steps for transport and security of EVMs and VVPATs he says.

Model Code of Conduct comes into effect today itself, he says.  Poll code violations can now be reported to the ECI through an app, cVIGIL.

Non-filing of revised Form 26 will result in rejection of candidature. The form seeks info on income of candidates, spouse, dependents, HuF and also assets located overseas and PAN, he says.

Candidates with criminal antecedents need to announce their status thrice before the poll date in local newspapers. 

On Central observers, the ECI has decided to send sufficient number of senior officials to spending-sensitive States, he says. 

An app has already been introduced for extending facilities to persons with disabilities, Mr. Arora says. 

Campaign and issues like paid news now covers social media too. Candidates now need to report their campaign and spending on social media. 

Google and Facebook have agreed to monitoring political ads and content on their platforms. “Social media platforms to ensure that political advertisements published through them are pre-certified by the Commission, they have appointed nodal grievance officials for dealing with complaints of hate messages.”

4.50 pm

In 2014, the Lok Sabha poll announcement was made on March 5. The elections for the 16th Lok Sabha, along with the Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, were held on nine different dates, compared with the five-phase exercise in the 2009 elections.

Have a look at Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi’s tweet:

4.40 pm

Dates for Odisha, Sikkim, A.P., Arunachal Assembly polls

There is a strong possibility that the EC may go by the precedent and hold Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls. Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the ECI is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.

4.30 pm

ECI presser at Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan

The poll panel will be holding a press conference at 5 p.m. at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.

Watch on the press conference live at the Press Information Bureau’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Source: thehindu.com

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