General Elections 2014: Election Commission to declare dates today


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New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (EC) will announce the much awaited polling dates for the upcoming General Elections today, a media report said on Tuesday.

According to official sources, the EC has said that it would like to make the announcement today at 10:30 am. Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath along with two Election Commissioners HS Brahma and SNA Zaidi will announce the dates during a press conference.

The conference this time will take place at Vigyan Bhawan instead of at Nirvachan Bhawan, the EC headquarters.

As soon as the panel announces the dates, the model code of conduct will immediately come into effect, after which the government and other political parties will not be able to take any major policy initiatives for the common masses.

The polls are slated to see more than 810 million voters exercise their ballot and are expected to begin before April 7, 2014. The Lok Sabha elections are likely to be conducted over six to seven phases, the longest so far, sources said.

“We are trying to limit the polls to six phases. However, we are still trying to work it out. A meeting has been called tomorrow to fix the election dates,” an Election Commission official said, requesting anonymity.

The 2009 polls were held in five phases from April 16 to May 13. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 01, 2014 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.

“The first phase polling date will not go beyond April 7,” the Election Commission official said.

Along with the Lok Sabha polls, Andhra Pradesh, including the regions comprising the newly carved out 29th state of Telangana, Odisha and Sikkim will also go to polls to elect new assemblies.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that has ruled India since 2004 is facing a wave of anti-incumbency, driven largely by its mishandling of the economy and the involvement of some of its members and allies in corruption scandals.

Opinion polls give an edge to the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), although the party will have to cobble together a coalition to make up the numbers, if the survey numbers are any indication.