Lok Sabha Election 2019

Lok Sabha polls from April 11 to May 19

Sunil Arora

Sunil Arora  

17.4 lakh VVPAT units to be used in all polling stations

Elections to the 17th Lok Sabha will be conducted in seven phases across the country from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes will be on May 23, the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced on Sunday.

The Model Code of Conduct came into effect immediately on the announcement of the schedule, with the Election Commission introducing fresh measures to enhance the integrity of the electoral process and raise the accountability of campaigners.

The Commission reiterated that strict action would be taken for the use of photographs of defence personnel in the election propaganda.

Lok Sabha polls from April 11 to May 19
 

In a letter to all the recognised parties on Saturday, the electoral body asked the parties, their candidates and cadres to desist from displaying photographs of Defence personnel or functions involving them in advertisements, or otherwise.

Addressing the media, Mr. Arora said voting across the country will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.

Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha will be conducted simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections in these respective States. However, the EC is yet to take a call on Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir owing to the security scenario.

 

Polls in 22 States and Union Territories will be conducted in a single phase. Two-phase elections are in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Manipur and Tripura, while Assam and Chhattisgarh will have three phases. Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha will be covered in four phases, Jammu and Kashmir in five, and Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in seven phases. In Anantnag, election will he held in three rounds.

The CEC said 91 constituencies will go for polls in first phase, 97 in second phase, 115 in third phase, 71 in fourth, 51 in fifth, and 59 each in sixth and seventh phase.

As on January 1, about 900 million people were eligible to vote, as per the electoral rolls, compared to 814.5 million in 2014. Among them are a sizable number of those born at the turn of the millennium. Over 15 million fall in the 18-19 years age group. While 71,735 overseas electors have been enrolled, more than 16.77 lakh are service electors.

10% more

Mr. Arora said there are more than 10.35 lakh polling stations, 10% higher than in 2014. The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, a total of 17.4 lakh units, will be used for the first time at all the stations. The CEC said the standard operating procedure for the security of EVMs and VVPATs had been revised to ensure that their end-to-end movement was monitored through GPS-fitted transport vehicles.

Stating that there were clear guidelines for use of social media by political parties and candidates, Mr. Arora said all the election management related news would be monitored vigorously on all the major national and regional news channels for immediate action against any violation.

“Various social media platforms shall also remain under the close and stringent vigil of the Commission for any content aimed at vitiating the electoral process or designed to disturb peace, tranquillity, social harmony and public order,” he said.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is to workout the details accordingly. “With the input of Facebook, Twitter, Google, WhatsApp and Share Chat, the IAMAI has already responded and confirmed its eagerness to cooperate with the EC to uphold the integrity and legality of the political campaigns conducted on the platforms of the intermediaries,” he said.

As decided, the intermediaries have already started awareness campaigns for users highlighting the EC activities. The exercise will cover awareness campaigns regarding unlawful conduct during election, particularly the prohibited period of 48 hours under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act. The platforms have appointed grievance officers and will deploy fact checkers to identify fake news and other malpractices.

Mr. Arora said the platforms were already taking actions against fake accounts and spam. Also, as directed, they will accept only pre-certified political advertisements during elections and will share the expenditure incurred on this account with the election authorities.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 4:19:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/lok-sabha-polls-from-april-11-to-may-19/article26489150.ece

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