Lok Sabha elections for 2019 will be held from April 11 to May 19 and after the seven-phase exercise across 543 parliamentary constituencies the results will be declared on May 23, the Election Commission announced on Sunday, kick-starting the countdown for a mega electoral battle wherein the BJP will pitch for a re-election of the Narendra Modi government amid the Opposition’s efforts for a united fight to unseat it.
Voting for electing the 17th Lok Sabha will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19 in which nearly 90 crore voters, including 1.8 crore first-time electorate aged between 18 and 19 years, are expected to take part, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said at a packed press conference here. With the announcement of the poll schedule, the model code of conduct came into immediate effect.
The CEC said that along with the parliamentary polls, Assembly elections will also be held in four states — Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha. Contrary to expectations, no elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been without an elected government since June last year when the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP.
Flanked by two election commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, Mr Arora said, “While finalising the election dates, exam schedules of state examination boards, CBSE, various festivals and harvest season are also adequately factored in.”
The CEC said that voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be used in all 10 lakh polling stations this time.
In 2014, the Lok Sabha elections were held across nine phases beginning April 7 and ending May 9. Votes were counted on May 16.
The total contestants in fray were 8,251, with an average of 15 candidates in each constituency, though deposits got forfeited for 7,000 contestants.
A total of over 55 crore voters (66.3 per cent) exercised their vote, while there were nearly 60 lakh NOTA votes. A total of 668 women candidates contested, out of which 62 won.