New Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday announced that the Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases starting from April 11. The counting of votes for all 543 parliamentary constitutencies will be on May 23, the commission announced.
While the first phase will be held on April 11, the subsequent phases will be held on April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
In the first phase, 91 constituencies will to go for polls, 97 constituencies in the second phase, 115 constituencies in the third, 71 in fourth phase, 51 in fifth phase, 59 in sixth and 59 in the seventh phase.
With the model code of conduct for elections coming into immediate effect, the government cannot announce any policy move that may impact voters’ decision.
In a press conference, chief election commissioner Sunil Arora announced that the electorate size is around 900 million for the 2019 general election. The process of updating the electoral rolls will continue till last date of filing of nomination, he said. There are 84.3 million new voters, as compared to 814.5 million electorate in 2014, the CEC said.
The EC is setting up approximately 10 lakh polling station in 2019.
The commission announced that it is introducing a mobile app for citizens to record any violation of code of conduct. After it is sent to the Election Commission, action will be taken in 100 minutes.
Candidates are required to furnish details of their social media accounts. Content on these accounts should adhere to the code of conduct. Social media platforms are taking steps to ensure that content violating the model code of conduct will be removed immediately. Platforms have to the commission that they will have dedicated grievance officers to take action.
Additionally, political advertisements made on social media will also require P-certification. Expenditure on social media political campaigns will also be included in the election expenditure account, the CEC said.
State elections in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh could be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections, the CEC said. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir will not be held along with the parliamentary elections. Dates for the J&K election will only be announced after the Lok Sabha elections. The J&K assembly was dissolved after the ruling coalition between the BJP and the PDP fell apart.
The Election Commission said the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time.