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Lok Sabha polls 2014: Nine-phase election from April 7, results on May 16

Nine-phaseThe schedule was announced by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Dr. Nasim Zaidi at a press conference held at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.

The elections would see more than 81.4 crore voters exercise their ballot; the number of voters is 10 crore more than the last general election held in 2009. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.

Sampath said that the EC had taken into consideration factors like examination schedules and weather conditions.

The EC said that electoral roll have already been updated till January 1, 2014 and final rolls have been published in all states.

However, the EC has offered one more opportunity to enroll in the electoral rolls. Camps would be set up on March 9 at all polling booths – around 9,30,000 – across the country to allow people to enroll themselves, the EC said.

The Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.

On the security measures being implemented by the EC, Sampath said, “To ensure free and fair elections we have taken particular care to ensure that people living in vulnerable areas and vulnerable voters are in continuous touch with the election machinery to ensure that they are able to vote uninterpreted by anyone.”

“Adequate number of observers in different categories will be deployed during the forthcoming elections,” he added.

On the neutrality of officials engaged in conduct of elections, Sampath said the EC expects them to discharge their duty without fear or favour.

“Strict action will be taken against officials who are found wanting in any aspect,” the CEC said.

With regards to the steps being taken to curb use of money power in the elections, he said, “The Election Commission has mounted a series of measures for monitoring expenditure; special emphasis is given to check flow of money during elections.”

“Besides expenditure observers, sufficient number of flying squads will be employed to check use of money power,” he added.

Election Commissioner HS Brahma said, “Appeal to all candidates, star candidates, they should not use any words which is against decorum & decency.”

An important feature of the polls would be the introduction of paper trail system for electronic voting in some constituencies on a trial basis.

Also, the EC has issued guidelines to political parties asking them to explain the rationale of financing the promises they make in their election manifestos. The guidelines that followed Supreme Court directions in this regard have now been made part of the Model Code.

Another first in the Lok Sabha elections will be the introduction of “None of the Above” (NOTA) option in voting, which came into vogue in the assembly elections a few months ago.

From the coming elections, candidates in a parliamentary constituency in bigger states can spend up to Rs. 70 lakh on their campaign, up from Rs. 40 lakh in 2011. In the 2009 elections, it was Rs. 25 lakh.

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