Countdown for Lok Sabha polls begins with EC’s announcement today

The Election Commission is all set to announce schedule for the Lok Sabha polls at 5pm today setting in motion the biggest democratic exercise in the world involving nearly 90 crore voters.
Election dates for Lok Sabha, 4 states to be announced at 5 pm today. (Photo by Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times )(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
Election dates for Lok Sabha, 4 states to be announced at 5 pm today. (Photo by Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times )(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Mar 10, 2019 05:38 PM IST
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The Election Commission is all set to announce schedule for the Lok Sabha polls at 5pm today setting in motion the biggest democratic exercise in the world involving nearly 90 crore voters.

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.

The Lok Sabha elections are expected to be held in seven to nine phases.

There is a strong possibility that the EC may go by precedent and hold assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, along with Lok Sabha polls.Since the Jammu and Kashmir assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.

The poll panel will be holding a press conference at 5 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

In 2014, the Lok Sabha polling was held on nine days between April 7 and May 12. The votes were counted on May 16, completing the entire process in 72 days as compared to 75 in 2009.

The BJP secured a clear majority on its own riding on the back of a strong Modi wave. This was the first time since 1984 general elections that a single political party could win majority. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 336 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP won 282.

The Congress ended up with a bloody nose, down to its lowest tally ever of 44. It was a figure that disqualified Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha from getting the title of a Leader of Opposition.

Many analysts wrote the Congress’s obituaries, and PM Modi did appear to have come close to delivering on his slogan of a ‘Congress-mukt India’.

Also read: Age no bar as BJP eyes winning factor while distributing tickets

Five years down the line, PM Modi clarified that his slogan never meant the call for the end of the Congress, but the culture of casteism, dynastic politics, and nepotism that he contended, the party had come to stand for.

PM Modi is the only the second non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office in the country’s history – Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first – and has already started a high-pitched campaign to be the first to return to power.

That is something Congress president Rahul Gandhi is trying hard to stop, posing the biggest challenge to the ruling BJP’s efforts to get re-elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP had swept the entire Hindi heartland in 2014 dominating the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The BJP-led coalition won 73 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, all 25 seats in Rajasthan, 27 of 29 in Madhya Pradesh and 10 of 11 in Chhattisgarh.

Heading into the Lok Sabha polls this summer, the Congress has reversed some of its losses and already snatched Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh from the BJP in the state elections.

Rahul Gandhi is also working closely with opposition parties who have been trying to put up a united fight against the BJP-led ruling alliance by making efforts to come up with state-specific electoral arrangements. The BJP, on the other hand, is also busy sealing fresh alliances with parties like AIADMK and conceding “extra space” to keep old allies like Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) and Shiv Sena in good stead.

The BJP has launched a nationwide programme, “Mera Booth, Sabse Majboot” (My Booth, Most Powerful) to galvanise the party cadre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have begun already electioneering with their public rallies in various states.

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Monday, January 24, 2022