The Election Commission on Friday announced the schedule for assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
“Elections will be held in 824 assembly constituencies in the 5 states. The counting day for all 5 states is May 19,” chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said during a press conference.
He was accompanied by election commissioners AK Joti and Om Prakash Rawat.
The terms of these five assemblies will end in April and May.
The Model Code of Conduct will be enforced with immediate effect and the governments of the poll-bound states as well as the Centre would not be able to announce any new schemes or programmes that may influence the voters.
In West Bengal, elections will be held in six phases. The first phase polls will be held on April 4 and 11. Polling in the remaining phases will be conducted on April 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5.
Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will go to polls on May 16. Counting of votes will be held on May 19. The Election Commission expects to complete the poll process by May 21. Over 17-crore voters will exercise their franchise in 824 constituencies. The terms of the five Assemblies are ending in April and May.
The Commission has allowed new voters to enroll themselves until 10 days from the last date of nomination. Emphasizing that the voters should check if their names are listed in the electoral rolls, Mr. Zaidi said, “mere photo ID card is not adequate.”
For the first time, the Election Commission will be setting up special polling stations at leprosy treatment centres. The photographs of all candidates will be included along with their name and the symbol on the EVMs. This has been done to eliminate confusion for voters, Mr Zaidi said.
All polling stations in West Bengal and Assam will be covered by Central police forces. Every district will have five central observers to monitor action against criminal elements for peaceful election.
All-women polling stations will be set up in the four States and Puducherry. The Election Commission has asked officials linked to poll work to declare whether any of their relatives are contesting in the polls.