LS polls to begin from April 7

Single phase election in Karnataka on April 17

LS polls to begin from April 7

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced a nine-phase general election to the 16th Lok Sabha, commencing on April 7 and ending May 12, with counting scheduled for May 16.

The world’s biggest electoral exercise will decide the fate of 543 Lok Sabha members. A majority of the seats will be covered on April 10 (92 seats), April 17 (122), April 24 (117), April 30 (89), May 7 (64) and May 12 (41). Elections to the remaining 18 seats will be conducted on April 7 (6 seats), April 9 (7) and April 12 (5). Assembly elections will be held simultaneously in Sikkim, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh. 

“Observance and enforcement of model code of conduct comes into place with immediate effect,” Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said here. “The model code is an instrument to ensure that a level playing field is not disturbed during the course of the elections. Any action which is taken by any authority will be examined with regard to these parameters. The party in power should not get any undue advantage,” he said.

Around 81.4 crore voters, among a population exceeding 120 crore, can exercise their franchise in the general elections. Almost 3 per cent of the electorate, which comes to around 2.3 crore, are first-time voters in the age group of 18-19 years. This translates into around 42,000 first-time voters in each constituency. 

The figure assumes significance since winning margin was less than 40,000 votes in more than 200 constituencies in the 2009 elections. If one includes those up to the age of 22, who were not eligible to vote in 2009, the number of young voters in each constituency would shoot up to 90,000, which can swing the future of many candidates.

“Examination schedule in the state and central boards, weather and law and order situation were kept in mind before drawing up the schedule. The examination schedule is particularly important as a large number of polling stations are located on educational premises. Also, a large number of polling staff is drawn from educational institutes,” Sampath said.

Law and order situation was given paramount importance in deciding the dates. The Maoist-affected areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and parts of Maharashtra, will go to the polls either on April 10 or 17. For six seats in Jammu and Kashmir, the election will be held in five phases. Barring Andhra Pradesh, polling will be held in a single phase in all other southern states. In Karnataka, the elections will be held on April 17. In Andhra Pradesh, the elections will be held in two phases, on April 17 and 25. 

DH News Service

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