India to hold general elections from April 11, results on May 23

New Delhi: General elections in India will be held in sevenphases between April 11 and May 19, India’s Election Commission saidon Sunday.
Counting would take place on May 23 and results would be declared thesame day, said the commission, an autonomous body which oversees theworld’s largest democratic exercise.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term. His right-wingHindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a sweeping majority in the LokSabha, or lower house of parliament, in 2014, replacing an IndianNational Congress-led government.
Along with the parliamentary elections, polling for statelegislatures would be simultaneously held in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha,Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim states, Chief Election CommissionerSunil Arora said. The terms of their legislatures were ending inJune.
Taking into account the security situation in Jammu and Kashmirstate, it has been decided not to hold state assembly elections theresimultaneously. Jammu and Kashmir has been under federal rule afterits coalition government collapsed in June 2018.
Elections in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal wouldbe held in seven phases and Jammu and Kashmir in five. States whereMaoist rebels are active would also see elections in multiple phases.
The staggered ballotting was needed to enable the movement ofparamilitary forces that ensure security during elections and thetransport of election apparatus and officials, Arora said.
With announcement of the election dates, the commission’s model codeof conduct kicks in. This code is a set of instructions that has tobe followed by every candidate contesting elections includingincumbent ministers.
The Election Commission also announced several measures it would betaking to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
India’s elections are contested by many parties, some of which have anational presence and others regional.
Several of the opposition parties have been trying to cobble togethera joint opposition to the BJP by working out an understanding wherethey do not contest against each other.
A new Lok Sabha has to be in place by June 3, the day on which theterm of the outgoing house expires.
Elections to the Lok Sabha are held every five years and the partywith the support of a majority of winning lawmakers is invited toform the government.
India has seen coalition governments when in the past one party hasfailed to secure a majority. DPA 

Midhun Raj

Digital Editor @ Oman Observer Daily

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