New Delhi: The Lok Sabha election will be spread over nine days starting April 7 and ending May 12 and the counting of votes in all the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies will take place May 16, the Election Commission announced Wednesday.
Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said the polling dates would be April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24 and 30 and May 7 and 12.
Sampath said simultaneous assembly elections would be held in Sikkim, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, including Telangana region.
The model of conduct has come into effect Wednesday with the announcement of the April-May Lok Sabha election schedule.
Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath. File pic
Sampath later told the media that the code was vital to ensure a level playing field among various contenders for power.
Sampath was at pains to clarify that it is not a nine-phased polling and the whole exercise will be over in 72 days, three days less than the last elections.
The first polling day on April 7 will cover six Lok Sabha constituencies in two states, while the second on April 9 will cover seven constituencies in five states.
92 constituencies will go to polls in 14 states on the third day on April 10, while a small number of five constituencies in three states will be covered on the fourth day on April 12.
The largest chunk of 122 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls in 13 states on April 17, the fifth day of poll, while the sixth day will witness polling in 117 seats in 12 states on April 24.
The seventh day of polling on April 30 will choose representatives in 89 constituencies spread over nine states and the eighth day on May 7 will cover 64 seats in seven states.
Polling will conclude on the ninth day on May 12 with elections in 41 constituencies in three states.
Election Commissioner HS Brahma added, "We appeal to all political parties not to use any such words or language that is against decorum and decency."
For the first time in any parliamentary election, voters will be free to go for "None of the Above" option among the candidates -- a provision made available in the November-December assembly polls in five states.
Sampath expressed concern over the use of money power aimed at influencing voters and said the poll panel was taking a string of steps to check this.
There will be about 930,000 polling stations across the country -- a 12 percent rise from the 2009 election.
Sampath said the election schedule was arrived at after taking into view several factors such as school examinations, monsoon, harvesting season and local festivals.
On March 9, voters all over the country will be able check for themselves, in designated stations near their homes, if their names do figure in the electoral rolls or not.
Here are the main highlights of the announcement made by the Election Commission
* Lok Sabha polls to start on April 7
* Polls in 9 phases from Lok Sabha polls from April 7 to May 12
* Counting of votes will be held on May 16
* First phase of polling to cover six constituencies in two states
* Model Code of Conduct for parties and governments comes into effect Wednesday
* Electoral rolls updated as of January 1, 2014, published in all states
* The number of Indian voters has shot up from 176 million in the first general election held in 1952 to some 814 million in 2014
Election dates: State-wise
Maharashtra - April 10, 17, 24
Gujarat - April 30
Goa - April 17
Karnataka - April 17
Madhya Pradesh- April 10, 17, 24
Uttar Pradesh - April 10, 17, 24, 30, May 7, 12
Jammu and Kashmir - April 10, 17, 24, 30, May 7
Bihar - April 10, 17, 24, 30, May 7, 12
Odisha - April 10, 17
West Bengal - April 17, 24, 30, May 7, 12
Chhattisgarh - April 10, 17, 24
Jharkhand - April 10, 17, 24
Rajasthan - April 17, 24
Haryana - April 10
Himachal Pradesh - May 7
Punjab - April 30
Uttarakhand - May 7
Kerala - April 10
Tamil Nadu - April 24
Andhra Pradesh - April 30, May 7
Manipur - April 9, 17
Meghalaya - April 9
Mizoram - April 9
Nagaland - April 9
Arunachal Pradesh - April 9
Assam - April 7, 12, 24
Sikkim - April 12
Tripura - April 7, 12
NCT of Delhi - April 10
Andaman - April 10
Chandigarh - April 10
Dadra Nagar Haveli - April 30
Daman and Diu - April 30
Lakshadweep - April 10
Puducherry - April 24