Lok Sabha election: Polling to be held in 7 phases, counting on June 4

NEW DELHI, Mar 16 :  Voting for the Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 19 and the counting will take place on June 4,  Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Saturday.
Kumar said byelections to 26 assembly constituencies and four state assembly elections--Sikkim, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh would be held along with parliament polls in the respective states.
"We are committed to give the nation a truly festive, democratic environment. The term of the 17th Lok Sabha is due to expire on june 16,2024. The terms of the Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are also due to expire in June 2024. Elections are due in Jammu and Kashmir," Kumar said.
There are 97 crore registered voters and over 10.5 lakh polling stations would be set up for this election, CEC said. Rajiv Kumar added there are 1.82 crore first-time voters over 1 crore polling officials and security staff are involved. 55 lakhs EVMs will be used in this election and all minimum basic faciltiies will be available in polling stations, Kumar said.
The CEC said there are four challenges - muscle, money, misinformation and model code violations. He added adequate number of CAPF personnel will be deployed. Drone-based checking will be conducted and NPCL would monitor transactions through digital wallets, Kumar said.
"Cash movement worth around Rs 3,400 crore was restricted in the last 11 state assembly elections in Rajasthan, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tripura. This shows an increase of 835 pc", Kumar said. The CEC appealed political parties to maintain decorum during campaigning.
Elections are being held in 543 constituencies across the country. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ruling National Democratic Alliance won in 353 seats with BJP alone winning in 303 seats. The Congress won only 52 seats. PTI