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Lok Sabha Elections in Seven Phases from April 11, Counting on May 23

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from Sunday, March 10.

New Delhi: Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and will be held over seven phases followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission announced on Sunday.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from Sunday and 10 lakhs polling stations would be set up this time as against about nine lakhs in 2014.

Announcing the schedule for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission said the voter verifiable paper audit trail’ (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time.

The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19.

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Counting of votes for all seven phases would be done on May 23, Arora said.

Among other things, the model code of conduct bars the government from announcing any policy move that may impact voters’ decision.

Arora said all political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification.

The elections will be conducted in a single phase in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andaman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Delhi, Pondicherry and Chandigarh.

In Karnataka, Manipur, Rajasthan, Tripura, Assam and Chattisgarh, the elections will be conducted in two phases. Jharkhand in four phases; Jammu & Kashmir in five phases. In three states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal: the elections will be conducted in seven phases.

In 2014, the Lok Sabha elections were held across nine phases, beginning on April 7 and ending on May 9. The counting of votes took place on May 16.

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The total contestants in fray were 8,251, with an average of 15 candidates in each constituency. However, deposit was forfeited in case of 7,000 contestants.

A total of over 55 crore voters (66.3 per cent) exercised their vote, while there were 9.27 lakh polling stations. There were nearly 60 lakh NOTA’ votes.

Out of total 543 elected candidates, only 62 were women from 668 who had contested.

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