Lok Sabha elections schedule could be announced in March first-week
The term of the current Lok Sabha is slated to end on June 3, and the EC is in the process of deciding the number of phases in which the elections will be held.
Here's what we know about it.
The EC is in the process of finalizing the schedule
Speaking to TOI, sources said that the EC was in the process of finalizing the schedule for the elections, and that the schedule would be announced in the first week of March.
The charting of phases that is currently going on is dependent on the availability of security forces, and hence, preparations for the massive electoral exercise will take some time to be finalized.
Four states could go to polls simultaneously
Further, it has been reported that the EC might go by precedents, and could also schedule assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.
The terms of the Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11, and June 1, respectively, while the term of the Sikkim assembly ends on May 27.
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J&K elections could also be held alongside Lok Sabha polls
There's also a possibility that the EC might schedule assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir alongside the Lok Sabha polls.
Although the J&K assembly's term was slated to end in March 2021, the assembly was dissolved in November 2018, and thus, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there within six months.
However, given the complex security situation in Kashmir, nothing is certain.
Schedule announcements of previous Lok Sabha polls
For those unaware, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the EC had announced the schedule on February 29, and the four-phase elections spanned from April 20 to May 10.
In 2009, the schedule was announced on March 2, and the elections lasted from April 16 to May 13.
In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the schedule was announced on March 5.