The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule of the 17th Lok Sabha elections yesterday. The elections would be held in 7 phases starting 11th April 2019. The counting will take place on 23rd May 2019. Here are some of the highlights.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule of the 17th Lok Sabha elections yesterday. The elections would be held in 7 phases starting 11th April 2019. The counting will take place on 23rd May 2019.
About 10% increase in total eligible voters
The 16th Lok Sabha is set to expire on 03rd June 2019 while the 15th Lok Sabha expired on 31st May 2014. This time around, the elections will be conducted in 7 phases compared to 9 phases in 2014. The last phase of voting as well as the date of counting in 2019 are one week later in May compared to the same month in 2014.
In terms of the total electorate, it has increased from 814.5 million in 2014 to 900 million in 2019, an increase of 10.5%. However, the electorate in the 18-19 age group or the first time voters decreased from 23 million in 2014 to 15 million in 2019, a decrease of more than 30%. The number of other gender voters has marginally increased. Though there has been a 6-fold increase in the registration of overseas electors compared to 2014, this is still negligible compared to the total number of overseas electors across the world. The number of service electors has also registered an increase of more than 25%, from 13.28 lakh in 2014 to 16.77 lakh in 2019. The number of polling stations for the 2019 elections has crossed the million mark, an increase of 11.6% compared to 2014.
Three States will go for a 7-phase election
This time around, three different states will have elections in all the 7 phases. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh & West Bengal will go for polls in every phase. In 2014, none of the states had a 7-phase election. Only Uttar Pradesh & Bihar had a 6-phase election in 2014, the most for any state. 22 States/UTs will go for polls in a single phase, the same as 2014. Four (4) states will go for polls in 4-phases in 2019 compared to none in 2014. Anantnag constituency in Jammu & Kashmir will go for polls in 3 different phases (3rd, 4th and 5th phase). In other words, different assembly constituencies in Anantnag will go for polls in 3 different phases. This is a rare occurrence.
Elections in 12 States/UTs will be complete sooner than the dates in 2014 while they will be completed later in the rest of the States/UTs. Elections in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana will get over 20 days earlier compared to the dates in 2014.
Other important updates
The following provisions will also be applicable in the current elections.
Mandatory counting of VVPAT slips: VVPAT slips will be counted for one (1) randomly selected polling station of each Assembly Segment of Parliamentary Constituency. This is in addition to the provisions of Rule 56(D) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 where candidates can seek counting of VVPAT slips by applying to the returning officer.
Photographs of Candidates on EVMs: The photograph of candidate will also be printed on the ballot paper to be displayed on the EVM (Ballot Unit) and on Postal Ballot Papers. This will help avoid any confusion when candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency.
Any of the eleven (11) identity documents can be produced: Voters who are not able to produce the EPIC can produce one of the following alternative photo identity documents for establishing their identity.
- Driving License
- Service Identity Cards with photographs issued to employees by Central/ State Govt. PSUs/ Public Limited Companies
- Passbook with photograph issued by Bank/ Post Office
- PAN Card
- Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
- MNREGA Job Card
- Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
- Pension document with photograph
- Official Identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs
- Aadhar Card.
Voter Helpline (1950): Voter helpline (1950) has been activated across the country to cater to the voters queries. Voter Helpline App has also been launched. SMS facility has been made available on 1950 to enable electors verify their names on the Electoral Roll (Voter List).
cVIGIL App: cVIGIL app is available on google playstore where citizens can record on his Android mobile and report to election authorities any violation of Model Code of Conduct, any incident of intimidation or inducement within minutes of having witnessed them and without having to go to the office of the returning officer. If the complainant desires to remain anonymous he has the option to do so. cVIGIL provides time stamped evidentiary proof of the Model Code of Conduct/Expenditure Violation, having live photo/video with auto location data. The status of cVIGIL is shared with the cVIGIL complainant within 100 minutes.