For the first time, voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will find photos of candidates on the EVMs along with the party symbol to avoid any confusion, CEC Sunil Arora said on Sunday.
Arora, who announced the dates for the much-awaited elections, added VVPATs will be present at all polling stations.
The Election Commission has taken several steps for fair polls, Arora said.
The results will be announced on May 23
The elections for 17th Lok Sabha will be held in seven phases and results will be announced on May 23. Elections will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal will have elections in all seven phases, whereas 22 states and union territories will vote in a single phase.
Understanding how EC decided the phases
Polling will happen in J&K in five phases, considering the heavy deployment of CRPF. Due to the presence of Maoists, Odisha and Jharkhand will vote in four phases. Chhattisgarh and Assam will vote in three phases, Arora underlined.
Candidates will have to declare their social media accounts
Considering the outreach of social media, EC announced a number of measures to ensure fairness in elections.
Arora said all advertisements put up on social media will need pre-certification. The advertisements will be a part of the parties' poll expenditure.
To curb fake news, EC has asked all candidates to declare their social media accounts in the affidavit.
Candidates directed to publish their criminal records thrice
The EC has also taken concrete steps to discourage candidates having proven criminal records.
The candidates will be required to "publish information in this regard in newspapers and through television channels on three occasions during the campaign period".
Parties which have given tickets to such candidates will also have to do the same, along with publishing the data on their website.
Citizens can directly report MCC violations
With poll dates' announcement, the Model Code of Conduct kicked in immediately. And this time the EC gave citizens the power to flag violations of MCC.
If someone finds a candidate is not adhering to rules, all they have to do is click a picture (or record a video), describe it briefly and upload on the cVIGIL app.
The option of remaining anonymous is also available.
Parties asked to think of environment during campaign
Among the many firsts, the EC also asked parties and candidates to use eco-friendly material for campaigning. "The long-term impact on the environment of plastic, polythene etc and other such substances should be kept in mind," Arora said.