NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India on Sunday announced that India will vote for the 17th Lok Sabha in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May and the counting of votes will take place on May 23.
The highest number of seats will witness polling in the 3rd phase, which is scheduled to take place on April 23. Announcing the poll schedule at a press conference in New Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said the first phase of Lok Sabha poll will take place on April 11 and it will cover 91 constituencies in 20 states. The second phase of polling on April 18 will witness polling in 97 constituencies in 13 states.
CEC Arora also said that 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 will take place on April 29 in 71 constituencies spread over 9 states. The fifth phase polling is scheduled for May 6 and it will cover 51 parliamentary seats in seven states. In the sixth phase on May 12, voting will take place in 59 constituencies in 7 states, while the seventh and last phase of polling will take place on May 12 for 59 constituencies in eight states, ANI reported.
“There will be approximately 10 lakh polling stations in the Lok Sabha elections as compared to 9 lakh polling stations in 2014,” CEC Arora told reporters. He added that around 900 million voters will cast their votes in upcoming Lok Sabha poll as compared to 814.5 million in 2014. According to CEC Arora, 15 million voters are in the age group of 18-19; 38,325 are third gender and other voters.
Talking about the EC's preparation for the Lok Sabha poll, CEC Arora informed the reporters that a total of 23.3 lakh ballot units have already reached their destinations. He added that 16.35 lakh control units and 17.4 lakh VVPATs will be used for conducting free and fair poll.
“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, adding that candidates will need 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.
(with ANI inputs)