Election Commission of India on 5 March 2014 announced that the 16th Lok Sabha elections will be held from 7 April 2014 to 12 May 2014 and the counting will take place on 16 May 2014. The Lok Sabha elections spread over nine phases. The Lok Sabha elections will be held as the five year term of the 15th Lok Sabha is due to expire on 31 May 2014.
With this announcement of the dates, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect. The 16th Lok Sabha elections for the first time will see deployment of Central Awareness Observers to oversee the effective management of the electoral process at the field level mainly in respect of voter awareness and facilitation.
Dates of poll phase wise
• First Phase on 7 April 2014 - will cover five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam and one in Tripura
• Second Phase on 9 April 2014 - will cover seven constituencies spread over Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland
• Third Phase on 10 April 2014 - will cover 92 constituencies of 14 states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and Delhi
• Fourth Phase on 12 April 2014 – will cover five constituencies in three states including Assam will be covered
• Fifth Phase on 17 April 2014 – will cover 122 Lok Sabha seats of 13 states namely Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar
• Sixth Phase on 24 April 2014 – will cover 117 seats in 12 states namely including Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh
• Seventh Phase 30 April 2014 – will cover 89 constituencies spread over nine states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal
• Eighth Phase on 7 May 2014 – will cover 64 seats in states including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and West Bengal
• Ninth Phase and end of the polls on 12 May 2014 – will cover 41 constituencies in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal
As per the announcement of Election Commission, the first phase notification will be issued on 14 March 2014 and last (ninth) Phase on 17 April 2014. Apart from the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission also announced the date for State Legislative Assembly election in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.
NONE of the Above (NOTA) Option in EVMs
The election commission in its notification has issued detailed instructions to the Chief Electoral Officers of all the states and Union Territories to implement NOTA. This notification was given following the judgment of Supreme Court of India pronounced on 27 September 2013 that directed the commission there should be the availability of - None of the Above (NOTA) on the ballot papers and EVMs.
As per the notification, the voters will have the option of NOTA printed below the name of the last candidate and can click the option in case they do not want to vote for any of the candidates.
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)
The Commission has also decided to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT) system in the General Election to the House of the People, 2014, in some of the Constituencies, subject to availability of number of units.
Constitutional Provisions for the elections
Article 324 of the Constitution of India confers the relevant powers, duties and functions upon the Election Commission of India while Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for conduct of the elections to constitute a new Lok Sabha before the expiry of its current term.
Taking into account these Constitutional and legal provisions, the Election Commission of India has made comprehensive preparations for conduct of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
The total number of electorate in the country as per the final published E-rolls is approximately 814.5 million as compared to 713 million in 2009. This marks an increase of more than 100 million electors. Of these 814.5 million about 23 million electors are in the age group of 18 to 19 and constitutes 2.88 of total electros, which is against 0.75 percent in 2009.
Commission has allowed enrollment of transgender persons with gender written as ‘Others’ in the electoral rolls since 2012. The number of electors enrolled as ‘Others’ gender is 28314. Parliament amended the Representation of the People Act, 1950, allowing enrollment of Indian citizens living overseas as electors. 11844 overseas electors have been enrolled in the current electoral rolls. There are 1328621 service electors in the electoral rolls.