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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Lok Sabha polls likely to start late April: EC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 05, 2014
First Published: 00:22 IST(5/1/2014) | Last Updated: 02:05 IST(6/1/2014)

The Election Commission has kick-started preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with a directive to chief electoral officers to revise electoral rolls by February-end.

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The general polls will be a month-long five to six-phase affair and are likely to start in late April.
 
The poll watchdog will be holding a series of meeting in the next two months to firm up poll plans and is expected to announce poll dates in the first week of March.
Chief Election Commissioner, V S Sampath, recently said that the EC will ensure that the 16th Lok Sabha is constituted by June 1.
 
EC sources said the 2014 general polls will be a daunting task with over 1.5 million polling station to be set up for over 780 million eligible voters as compared to 710 million voters five years ago. About a million government officials and half-a-million security personnel are expected to be deployed for the polls.

PM Manmohan Singh, on Friday,  had told reporters that he would plan his post-LS polls future later and still had five more months left. But, the tentative poll schedule gives him roughly a two-month window to deliver as the model code of conduct will come into force once the election dates are announced.

In these two months, the government will have to pass a law to carve out Telangana state and demonstrate its commitment to fight corruption.
 
Laws to protect whistleblowers, guarantee redress of grievances and improve governance standards are pending in Parliament and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had termed them essential to fight corruption along with Lokpal Bill.

As compared to past elections, the 2014 is set to be different with voters having online and call center facility to check their name on the electoral rolls. Unlike previous elections, a commission official will deliver an electoral slip having names of voters in a family to every household in the country. The commission is also expected to revise the process of filing nomination papers and strengthen its electoral expenditure monitoring mechanism.

In 2009, the general elections were held in five phases starting on April 16 and ending on May 13. The votes for 543 Lok Sabha seats were counted on May 16 and the UPA-2 formed the government on May 22.


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