[India], Mar 10 (ANI): The 3rd phase of seven-phased election to 17th Lok Sabha, beginning April 11 and ending on May 19, will see the maximum number of 115 seats spread over 14 states undergoing polling on April 23.
The counting of votes will take place on May 23 to declare 543 members elected for the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Indian Parliament.
Announcing the poll schedule here at a press conference at Vigyan Bhawan, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said: “The first phase of Lok Sabha poll will be held on April 11, covering 91 constituencies in 20 states.”
“The second phase of polling will be held on 18 April for 97 constituencies in 13 states. The third phase of polling will take place on April 23 in 115 constituencies in 14 states,” said Arora.
Arora said the elections would be held in single phase in 22 states, which include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh.
The fourth phase of polling is scheduled for April 29 to be held in 71 constituencies spread over 9 states. The fifth phase polling will be held on May 6 in 51 constituencies in seven states, while phase six on May 12 in 59 constituencies in 7 states and the seventh phase polling will be held on May 12 for 59 constituencies in eight states.
Arora said that the election to the legislative assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Odisha will be held simultaneously with the General Elections, while the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be held later on.
“There will be approximately 10 lakh polling stations in the Lok Sabha elections as compared to 9 lakh polling stations in 2014,” he said.
The total electorate in the final published roll will be in the vicinity of 900 million as compared to 814.5 million in 2014, out of which 15 million voters are in the age group of 18-19; 38,325 are third gender and other voters. As many as 71,735 are overseas electors, while 1.6 billion are service electors, said Arora.
The CEC informed that 23.3 lakh ballot units have already reached their destinations. Also 16.35 lakh control units and 17.4 lakh VVPATs are also deployed for conducting elections.
“VVPATs will be used along with EVMs at all polling stations. Adequate numbers of both have been made available for smooth conduct of election exercise. There will be mandatory VVPAT slip count at randomly selected polling station per assembly segment,” he said.
Arora also said that candidates are required to furnish details of their social media account.
“All advertisement on social media will also require pre-certification. All expenditure on campaigning advertisement in social media is to be included in the election expenditure account,” said Arora.
Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra were also present during Sunday’s announcement press conference.
Lok Sabha polls 2014 had been held in nine-phases with the election schedule announced on March 5. The electoral exercise was spread over the months of April and May with the first phase of polling taking place on April 7, and the last phase being on May 12.
The BJP had won 282 seats in the 2014 General Elections, giving them a simple majority in the Lower House of Parliament. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 336 seats out of 543. The Congress had won 44 seats. (ANI)