The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19 and the votes will be counted on May 23, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced on Sunday.
Calling the Indian parliamentary battle the “largest festival of democracy”, he said that 91 constituencies (spread across 20 states) will see polling on April 11, 97 constituencies (13 states) on April 18, 115 (14) on April 23, 71 (9) on April 29, 51 (7) on May 6, 59 (also 7) on May 12 and 59 constituencies (8 states) on May 19.
The staggered election will see about 900 million voters, up from 814.5 million in 2014, when Narendra Modi led the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to power ending a decade of Congress-headed UPA rule.
Of this, some 15 million will be first-time voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years.
Approximately 10 lakh polling stations, one lakh more than in 2014, will be set up and a total of 17.4 lakh VVPATs will be used with electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all polling stations, Arora told a crowded press conference.
“The Election Commission has attempted a very comprehensive preparation for the conduct of the election”, he said.
“The panel believes that purity of electoral roll is the foundation of fair elections,” he added.