Elections 2014: India goes to polls on 9 days from April 7 to May 12
New Delhi: India will elect a new Parliament over nine days in April-May in the world's largest democratic exercise, with the Election Commission announcing yesterday that the results will be declared on May 16.
Political parties across the spectrum, already in election gear, largely welcomed the staggered exercise. The BJP exuded confidence it will win the battle but the ruling Congress rubbished the claim.
A whopping 814 million Indians - almost the combined population of Russia, the US, Brazil and Bangladesh -will be eligible to vote in the 16th parliamentary election to elect the 16th Lok Sabha, the House of People or what is called the lower house.
This is an increase of some 100 million from the 2009 election - and a sharp rise from the 176 million of 1951 when newly independent India conducted its maiden Lok Sabha election.
Along with the Lok Sabha polls, Sikkim, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states will elect new assemblies, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said while unveiling the staggered election schedule at the Vigyan Bhawan convention centre.
“Credible elections are the very soul and hallmark of any democratic system,” Sampath told the media. The millions of votes will be counted on May 16, the results coming out in a few hours, a feat perhaps unparalleled in the world.
Sampath urged the people to “vote in an informed and ethical manner” and appealed to political parties and candidates to uphold India's “democratic traditions ... by maintaining high standards of discourse and fair play”.
AAP and BJP workers clash in the Capital
AAP workers today fought pitched battles with BJP activists outside the saffron party headquarters here hours after former CM Arvind Kejriwal was detained briefly in Gujarat. AAP workers stormed the BJP head office on Ashoka Road in the heart of the capital protesting Kejriwal's detention in Radhanpur in North Gujarat where he is on a 4-day visit to “inspect” development that has been claimed by CM Narendra Modi. They shouted slogans against Modi saying he was “scared” by Kejriwal’s visit and was using the police against him.
Congress praises Lalu as deal is sealed
Congress has hailed Lalu Prasad as an “extremely supportive” ally as the two sides sealed a deal under which it will contest 12 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. “We have a very good rapport with RJD chief Lalu Prasad. He has been extremely supportive of Congress inside Parliament and outside,” party spokesperson Sanjay Jha told reporters here. Asserting that there was “no dispute” between the two parties, the Congress spokesperson said that the issue of an alliance during any election is a very complex issue that cannot be dealth in a hurry.
'None of the above'
For the first time in any parliamentary election, voters will be free to reject all available candidates and go for None Of The Above (NOTA) option — a provision made available in the November-December assembly polls in five states.
When the states go to the polls, and the no of seats
* Regardless of when the new state of Telangana is carved out, elections will be held in the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh as they exist today, EC said
Rs 6,000 cr
Cost of LS elections
Number of security personnel to be deployed for the exercise
Number of polling stations to be set up across the nation
Number of civilian staff to be enrolled for the polls