The Election Commission has announced the dates for elections in five
- Tamil Nadu votes on April 13
- Kerala votes on April 13
- West Bengal votes on six days, starting April 18
- Assam votes on April 4 and April 11
- Puducherry votes on April 13
Counting for all states will take place on May 13. Overseas Indians will be allowed to vote.
The model code of conduct has come into force immediately, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi said while announcing the schedule.
While West Bengal has 294 assembly constituencies, Tamil Nadu has 234, Kerala 140, Puducherry 30 and Assam 126.
The elections are the first battle of the ballot in the new year and would involve over 14.39 crore electorate in the five states with West Bengal having the largest number of over 5.60 crore electors followed by Tamil Nadu 4.59 crore.
While Kerala has 2.29 crore electors, Assam 1.81 crore and Puducherry is merely over eight lakh. Polling will be held through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Asked as to why the Election Commission has gone in for a six-phased polls in West Bengal, the CEC said that a decision was taken keeping in view the "ground realities". The EC had already sent two teams to the state to study the law and order situation.
(With PTI inputs)