Criticised for ‘late’ announcement of poll dates, Election Commission explains
The Election Commission, which on Sunday announced the dates of the Lok Sabha elections, refuted the opposition’s charges of “delay” in declaring the poll dates.
The Congress had alleged that the EC was waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to conclude his travel programme. Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora on Sunday said the poll body’s intentions cannot be doubted just because the election dates were declared on March 5 in 2014.
“The life of the last Parliament was up to 31 May, this time it is June 3… (Don’t know) if 5 March has become an edict for all times,” said Arora.
The poll panel chief said unlike 2014, when it was 9-phase poll, it will be a 7-phase exercise in 2019. Arora said the initial plan was to declare the election dates on Monday but then he realized why give a holiday to people.
The Lok Sabha election 2019 will be held in seven phases. Voting will begin on April 11 and the results will be declared on May 23. The elections will be held for 543 seats of the Lok Sabha on approximately 10 lakh polling booths across the country. The tenure of the current Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
Last week, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had taken a swipe at the Election Commission over not declaring the dates. “Is the Election Commission waiting for the Prime Minister’s “official” travel programs to conclude before announcing dates for General Elections? Using govt functions as an excuse for political rallies, flooding TV/radio and print with political ads, it is seems that EC is giving the government a long rope to campaign till the last moment using public money,” Ahmed Patel had tweeted.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh had also targeted the Election Commission and asked if the poll panel operated from the BJP’s office. “In 2014, the poll dates were announced on March 5, in the past five days he conducted many rallies,” Singh tweeted.