New Delhi, March 10,2019: India will vote for the 17th Lok Sabha in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May. The counting of votes will take place on May 23 and result will be declared on the same date as per the Lok Sabha election 2019 schedule announced by the Election Commission of India on Sunday.
The date of polling for the seven phases are April 11, 18, 23, 29, May 6, 12, 19. In the first phase, 91 seats across 20 states and UTs will go to polls; Second phase: 97 in 13 States and UTs; Third phase: 115 in 14 States and UTs; Fourth phase - 71 in 9 States and UTs; Fifth phase: 51 in 7 States and UTs; Sixth phase 59 in 7 States and UTs; Seventh phase: 59 in 8 States and UTs.
The elections are being held for 543 out of the 545 Lok Sabha seats. The remaining two seats are reserved for the Anglo-Indian community which are nominated by the President.
Along with the Lok Sabha election, assembly polls will also be held in four states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim. The polls will be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections. The term of the Sikkim assembly ends on 27 May 2019 while the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.
In Jammu and Kashmir, only Lok Sabha election will be held as of now in view of the security situation in the state following skirmishes with Pakistan. The CEC said that poll observers are closely monitoring the situation there. The six-year term in J&K was scheduled to end on 16 March 2021, but the Assembly was dissolved after the ruling coalition between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP fell apart. The state is currently under President’s Rule, hence the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.
The EVM controversy and calls for VVPAT
Opposition parties have been endlessly demanding that the elections be held on ballot paper alleging the possibility of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being hacked and tampered with. They have been urging the ECI to extensively use the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system to cross-check votes. The VVPAT device is attached to an EVM and prints a small slip of paper carrying the symbol, name and serial number of the candidate voted for. This is visible to the voter for a short period, and can be later used by the ECI to verify the votes.
In view of the controversy, the ECI has directed officials to use vehicles installed with GPS trackers and mobile-based tracking system for transportation of reserve EVMs and VVPATs. The poll panel has instructed that end-to-end movement of all reserve EVMs and VVPATs shall be carefully monitored at all times, for which vehicles of sector officers, with reserve EVMs and VVPATs, shall be fitted with GPS tracking system.
2 phased polls in Karnataka
Karnataka to undergo 2 phased polls on April 18th and April 23rd for 14 Lok Sabha seats each. Total voters: 5,03,46,721 cr; 2.5 cr male; 2.48 cr female and 4,718 others