- Voting on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12, May 19
- The festival of democracy, elections are here: PM Modi
- Model Code of Conduct is now in place
The national election will be held in seven rounds from 11 April and the results will be announced on May 23, the Election Commission said on Sunday. Voting will be held across India on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
The announcement signals the start of a colossal voting exercise that will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking another term in office and the opposition attempting to join forces to put up a strong fight.
Elections will also be held in four states -- Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha - along with the parliamentary polls.
"The festival of democracy, elections are here. I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers," PM Modi tweeted.
Best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India assuring smooth elections. India is very proud of the EC for assiduously organising elections for several years.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 10, 2019
The Model Code of Conduct spelling out dos and don'ts for elections is now in place, which means the government cannot announce any new schemes.
The opposition Congress had accused the Election Commission of delaying the dates to enable the government to rush through the launch of welfare schemes and projects; no announcements can be made once the model code of conduct kicks in with the election dates. Commission sources have rubbished the claims.
The term of the Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
"Examination schedules of all state boards and factors like festivals and harvest season were taken into consideration while fixing poll dates," said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, while announcing the poll dates.
About 900 million voters would be eligible for the polls, about 15 million between the ages of 18 and 19 years.
In 2014, PM Modi's BJP became the first party in three decades to win a majority on its own; it won 282 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha, where the majority mark is 272. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336 seats.
The Congress was voted out of power after two terms and was reduced to just 44 seats.
The election body said assembly elections will not be held in Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha elections. The state has been under Governor's rule since the BJP ended the ruling alliance with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party in June.
Here are the dates when election will be held in your state/ union territory
Some opinion polls have suggested ebbing support for the BJP since 2014. The party is said to be facing a particularly tough challenge after the Congress won three key state election victories in December, chipping into the BJP's core support base in the Hindi heartland home to nearly half a billion voters.
Until a few weeks ago, a shortage of jobs, farm distress and were seen as denting the ruling party's popularity. But after India's air strikes in Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack, reflecting a strong response to terror from Pakistan-based groups, several BJP leaders have spoken about a wave in the party's support. The congress and other opposition parties have hit out at the BJP, accusing it of exploiting the armed forces for votes.
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