Six-phase elections in West Bengal, two-phase in Assam

The Assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held from April 4 to May 10. Announcing the schedule, the Election Commission said on Tuesday counting would be uniformly taken up on May 13.

While West Bengal will have a six-phase poll - April 18, 23, 27, May 3, 7 and 10 - the elections in Assam will be held in two phases - April 4 and 11 - and in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry the poll will be held on April 13.

The model code of conduct has come into effect and is applicable to the Central government with respect to those States/Union Territory going to the polls, the State/UT governments, political parties and the candidates, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said.

The CEC, who announced the poll schedule, along with Election Commissioners V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma here, said that for the first time non-resident Indians, who had already registered themselves as voters, would be eligible to vote and instructions had been given to polling officials in this regard.

Asked about the reasons for a six-phase poll in West Bengal, he said it was due to the law and order situation, ground realities and considering the fact of disturbed areas in the State.

For the Legislative Assemblies in Kerala (total membership 140), Tamil Nadu (234) and Puducherry (30), the poll notification will be issued on March 19. March 26 is the last date for filing nominations. On March 28 the papers will be scrutinised and March 30 is the last date of withdrawals.

For the 294-member West Bengal Assembly, the notification for the first phase will be issued on March 23; for the second phase on March 30; the third phase, April 2; the fourth phase, April 7; the fifth phase, April 11; and for the last and sixth phase, the notification will be issued on April 14.

For 126-member Assembly in Assam, the notification for the first phase will be on March 10 and for the second phase on March 18.