India will vote in seven phases between April 11 and May 19 to elect its 17th Lok Sabha and its new government. The votes will be counted on May 23.
The Election Commission on Sunday announced the schedule of the Lok Sabha elections — the largest democratic exercise in the world, with nearly 90 crore people eligible to vote in over 10 lakh polling stations to elect 543 members of the Lower House of the country’s Parliament.
“Elections to the world’s largest democracy pose immense challenges,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said, as he, along with election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, announced the schedule at a press conference at Vigyan Bhavan.
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This is going to be the first Lok Sabha election in which the Election Commission will deploy Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) devices along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at all polling stations across the country, said the chief election commissioner.
However Cross tally of VVPAT with EVM a demand asked by 21 Opposition parties in India has not been met as on date . Election Commission has appointed Committee and its report is expected much before start of Elections process said Sunil Arora
The Lok Sabha elections will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in seeking a renewed mandate to remain in power for another term of five years. The Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, is the principal challenger to the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
The state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh will take place simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. The polling for Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh (175 constituencies), Sikkim (32) and Arunachal Pradesh (60) will be held in a single phase on April 11. The polling for the 147 seats in Odisha will be held in four phases — April 11, 18, 23 and 29.
However the EC will not hold Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir along with Lok Sabha elections. The Jammu and Kashmir legislative Assembly was dissolved in November, five months after the BJP-PDP coalition government collapsed. Opposition Parties question Election Commission move for not holding the assembly election in Jammu Kashmir