Lok Sabha elections likely in April

Lok Sabha elections likely in April

 Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in six phases beginning mid-April, kick-starting the biggest democratic exercise in the world to elect a government.

As many as 800 million voters can exercise their franchise in an election which is being seen as a direct contest between BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The Election Commission (EC) has already put in motion consultations to ensure smooth conduct of general elections along side polls to the state Assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim. The election dates are expected to be announced in late February or early March immediately after which the model code of conduct would be in place.

The term of the 15th Lok Sabha ends on May 31 and the 16th Lok Sabha has to be constituted by June 1. The emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a political force to reckon with, at least in Delhi and its immediate surroundings, has forced the Congress and the BJP to re-draw their strategies. While the Congress has identified corruption and high inflation as key issues, the BJP is busy re-working plans to ensure that its urban voters, who are being targeted by the AAP, do not desert the party.

Electoral rolls are being updated and the exercise is expected to be completed by the end of January. The EC is also planning to convene a meeting of political parties some time early next month to seek their views on the election dates.

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