New Delhi, March 10 (The Hindu): The Indian Election Commission announced on Sunday the schedule for elections to the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian parliament.
Polling will be held in seven phases.The first phase will be on April 11 and the seventh and last on May 19. Counting will begin on May 23.
The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
Phase 1: 91 seats in — 20 States Andhra Pradesh (all 25), Arunachal, Assam (5) Bihar (4), Chandigarh (1) Jammu and Kashmir (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha (4), Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (8), Uttarkhand (5), WB (2), Andaman & Nicobar Islands Lakashwadeep
Phase 2: 97 seats in 13 States — Tamil Nadu (all 39), Tripura (1), WB (3), Puducherry (1)
Phase 3: 115 seats in 14 States — Assam 4, Bihar 5, Chattisgarh 7, Gujarat (all 26), Goa (2), JK 1, Karnataka 14, Kerala (20), Maharatshtra (14), Odisha (6), Uttar Pradesh (10), WB (5), Dadra Nagar Haveli (1), Daman Diu (1)
Phase 4: 71 seats in 9 States — Bihar 5, JK 1, Jharkhand 3, Madhya Pradesh 6, Maharashtra 17, Odisha 6, Rajasthan 13, Uttar Pradesh. 13, West Bengal 8
Phase 5: 51 seats in 7 States — Bihar 5, Jharkhand 4, JK 2, Rajasthan 12, Uttar Pradesh. 14, West Bengal 7, Madhya Pradesh. 14
Phase 6: 59 seats in 7 States — Bihar 8, Haryana 10, Jharkhand 4, Madhya Pradesh. 8, Uttar Pradesh. 14, West Bengal 8, National Capital Region (all 7)
Phase 7: 59 seats in 8 States — Bihar 8, Jharkhand 3, M.P. 8, Punjab (all 13), West Bengal 9, Chandigarh 1, Uttar Pradesh 13, Himachal 4
The Election Law came into effect on March 10.
Nearly 900 million voters are eligible to vote in the polls. That is 84 million more than last polls. There will be one million polling stations this time compared to 900,000 in the 2014 polls.
Provision To Vote For None
The last button in the EVMs is the NOTA (None of the Above)option. Photos of candidates will be displayed in EVMs for the first time.
Non-filing of revised Form 26 will result in rejection of candidature. Form 26 seeks information on the income of candidates, spouse, dependents, and also assets located overseas. .
Candidates with criminal antecedents need to announce their status thrice before the poll date in local newspapers.
An app has already been introduced for extending facilities to persons with disabilities, Mr. Arora says.
Rules Apply To Social Media Also
Campaign and issues like paid news now covers social media too. Candidates now need to report their campaign and spending on social media.
Google and Facebook have agreed to monitor political ads and content on their platforms.
“Social media platforms to are ensure that political advertisements published through them are pre-certified by the Commission, they have appointed nodal grievance officials for dealing with complaints of hate messages.”
Ban On Using Military in Campaign
The Election Commission issued a notice asking political parties not to use images of the country’s armed forces in their campaign posters and other advertising during its upcoming general election, Reuters reported.
The notice followed pictures posted to social media showing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party using images in their campaign posters of a captured Indian Air Force pilot returned by Pakistan after a clash over the disputed Kashmir territory.
The Election Commission said in a notice on its website on Saturday that political parties must refrain from using photographs of defence personnel in advertisements or their election campaign propaganda as the armed forces are “apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy.”
The commission cited a 2013 order that said photographs of defence personnel should not be used “in any manner in advertisement/propaganda/campaigning or in any another other manner in connections with elections by political parties and candidates.”
It called for “strict compliance” with the order.
Recent social media posts showed a campaign poster on a billboard in Indian capital of New Delhi with Varthaman’s face alongside Modi’s, along with the words: “If Modi is in power, it is possible! NaMo again 2019!” NaMo is an acronym for Modi.
18 Tamil Nadu Assembly seats Will Go To Polls
Along with the Lok Sabha polls, the by-elections to 18 Assembly constituencies will be held in Tamil Nadu on April 18. However, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said the by-elections will not be held for Ottapidaram, Aravakurichi and Tiruparankundram Assembly constituencies.
Asked about the reason, he said Election Petitions were pending against by-elections in Ottapidaram, Aravakurichi and Tiruparankundram Assembly constituencies. Therefore by-polls will not be held there on April 18. Election petition means there are pending court cases, he clarified.
The by-elections will be held for the following constituencies. Poonamallee, Perambur, Thiruporur, Sholingur, Gudiyatham (SC), Ambur, Hosur, Pappireddipapatti, Harur (SC), Nilakkottai (SC), Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Manamadurai (SC), Andipatti, Periyakulam (SC), Sattur, Paramakudi (SC), Vilathikulam.
The CEO said they have enough EVMs and VVPATs to conduct the Lok Sabha elections and by-elections simultaneously.
(The featured image at the top shows Indian tribal women in Central India showing the indelible ink mark on their fingers which indicates that they have voted)