NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India will on Sunday announce the schedule of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The announcement is likely to be made at a press conference at 5 pm on Sunday. The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
The EC had on Saturday conducted a review meeting in Delhi as part of preparations for the multi-phase Lok Sabha election.
The election could be spread over several phases over the next two months. This is a high probability that the election will be held in 7-8 phases. The model code of conduct will come into effect as soon as the poll dates are announced.
There is a strong possibility that the EC may hold assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha election. The term of the Sikkim assembly ends on 27 May 2019 while the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.
Since the Jammu and Kashmir assembly has been dissolved as is under President’s Rule, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May. However, there is no clarity yet whether elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held along with the General election.
The Election Commission officials have earlier stated that the required electronic voting machines and paper trail machines are in place to be deployed in nearly 10 lakh polling stations across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.
In 2014, the election for the 16th Lok Sabha took place in nine phases between April 7 and May 12 while the counting of votes took place on May 16. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured a massive majority and Narendra Modi took oath as the 14th Prime Minister of India on May 26. BJP created history by becoming the first party other than the Congress to secure an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. It is also the first party since the 1984 Lok Sabha election to cross the half-way mark of 272 seats.
The poll schedule for the last three general elections was announced in the first week of March. In 2014, the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May. In 2009, the five-phase polls began on April 16 and ended on May 13. In 2004, the four-phase Lok Sabha polls began on April 20 and ended on May 10.