Countdown for 2019 polls begins as EC set to announce dates at 5 pm today
New Delhi, Mar 10: The Election Commission (EC) is expected to announce the schedule for 2019 general elections today at 5 PM. The EC is likely to hold a press conference today at 5 pm in Vigyan Bhawan.
The elections will be held for 543 seats of the Lok Sabha on approximately 10 lakh polling booths across the country. The tenure of the current Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
The Lok Sabha elections are expected to be held in seven to nine phases.The Election Commission is also likely to announce the assembly election dates in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, according to various media reports.
Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May. While there is a view that the J-K assembly elections can be held along with the Lok Sabha polls, a lot depends on the complex security situation in the state given the heightened tension along the India-Pakistan border.
As soon as the elections, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his bid to return to power amid hectic parleys by several political parties to put a united fight against the ruling BJP, are announced, the model code of conduct will come into force.
Opposition parties have questioned the delay in announcing the poll dates, with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel asking the EC whether it was waiting for the Prime Minister's "official" travel programme "to conclude".
In 2014, the Election Commission had announced the election schedule on 5 March and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May.
While the first phase of polling was on 7 April, the last phase was on 12 May.