President notifies first phase of LS polls
The process for the Lok Sabha elections began on Wednesday with the President issuing the notification for polls to 141 Parliamentary seats spread over 15 states in the first part of the five-phased exercise on April 20.
In the first phase, polls will be held for the 141 seats in Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Chhattisgarh and a portion of Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam and Manipur.
Notifications were also issued by Governors for 147 out of 294 seats in Andhra Pradesh Assembly, 120 out of 224 seats in Karnataka and 77 of the 147 seats in Orissa.
Nearly 675 million voters are eligible to cast their votes, which will be for the first time across the country through Electronic Voting Machines, to elect a 543-member Lok Sabha.
The massive electoral exercise would be held in five phases — April 20, 22, 26 and May 5 and 10.
Nominations for the constituencies going to polls in the first phase will close on March 31 and withdrawal of candidatures will be on April 3 and 5 which will draw the battlelines.
In the backdrop of the naxalite problem in a few states, particularly Andhra Pradesh, elaborate security arrangements have been made with the induction of scores of companies of the Central para military forces to ensure free and fair poll.
Apart from a thousand general election observers who will monitor the polls across the country, the Commission has for the first time decided to appoint special observers in some states to ensure neutrality at the highest level for what is billed as the largest democratic exercise in the world.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where there will be a four-phased poll for the six Lok Sabha seats, with Baramulla and Jammu going to polls on April 20, Srinagar on April 26, Anantnag on May 5 and Ladakh and Udhampur on May 10.
The second phase of polling on April 22, will be held for the two Lok Sabha seats in the northeastern state of Tripura.
Tripura Government had sought a change in the April 20 date as scheduled earlier, on account of the tribal festival 'Baba Gariyapuja' on that day.
For the third phase of polling which will cover 137 Lok Sabha seats in 11 states and 321 Assembly seats in three states on April 26, notifications will be issued on March 31.
Nominations for the third phase will close on April 7 and the last date of withdrawal will be on April 10.
The fourth phase of polling on May 5 will cover 83 Lok Sabha seats in seven states. Nominations for the same open on April 8, which will go on till April 15. The last day of withdrawal of nominations is on April 19.
The fifth phase of elections on May 10 covers 182 Parliamentary constituencies in 16 states, including Sikkim, which will have a one-day poll for both the Lok Sabha and the 32-member Assembly.
Nominations for the last phase would open on April 16, and would go on till April 23. The last day for withdrawal of candidature would be on April 26.
Counting will be taken up on May 13.