EC to announce LS poll schedule at 5 pm todayLast updated on Mar 10, 2019, 12:16 pm
The Election Commission (EC) is set to announce the schedule for the high-voltage Lok Sabha elections today, which is likely to be spread over seven to eight phases in April-May.
The poll panel will be holding a press conference at 5 pm at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
Code of conduct bars government from announcing policy decisions
As soon as the election schedule is announced, the model code of conduct will come into force.
Among other things, the code bars the government from announcing their policy decisions.
This time Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his bid to return to power amid hectic parleys by several political parties to put a united fight against the ruling BJP.
EC might hold Assembly elections along with Lok Sabha polls
Notification for the first phase could be issued by the end of March for voting sometime in early April, sources suggested.
There is also a strong possibility that EC may go by the precedent and hold Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls this year.
Jammu and Kashmir may also face polls.
J&K Assembly polls depend on security situation in the state
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.
While it's said that the J&K Assembly elections can be held along with the LS polls, a lot depends on the complex security situation in the state, given the heightened tension along the India-Pakistan border.
Centre, state administration against holding the two elections together
The Centre and the state administration, being managed by the Centre-appointed Governor, are against holding the two elections together this time. However, all political parties in the state favored simultaneous polls during a meeting with the Election Commission earlier this week.
Electronic voting machines to be deployed across 543 LS constituencies
The J&K Assembly's six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021, but it got dissolved after a ruling coalition between PDP and BJP fell apart.
The other state Assemblies and Lok Sabha have five-year terms.
The required electronic voting machines and paper trail machines are in place to be deployed in nearly 10 lakh poling stations across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.
In 2014, the first phase polling was held on April-7
There is a high probability of the elections being spread across seven to eight phases this time.
In 2014, the Election Commission had announced the election schedule on March 5 and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May.
While the first phase polling was held on April 7, the last phase was on May 12.