The general elections to the Lok Sabha, India's lower house, are likely to begin between 7 and 10 April 2014. The polls, this time, are to be held in seven phases, say media reports quoting sources from the Indian Election Commission.
Along with the Lok Sabha elections, the Commission is to hold assembly elections to three states- Odisha, Sikkim and Telangana, the state yet to be carved out from the present united Andhra Pradesh.
However, the Election Commission is yet to decide on the exact date of the polls. The Commission is said to have been working out on the poll schedule and it is likely to announce the poll schedule on 5 March.
The model code of conduct for the government is to come into effect from the date of announcement of the poll schedule. It has to be noted that the government can't make any major policy announcements, once the poll schedule is announced.
If the polls are taking place in six or seven-phases, it would be the first time India taking such a long schedule for the general elections. The last elections to the Lok Sabha were held in 2009 in five phases from 16 April to 13 May. However, the Commission said that it would try to cut the poll schedule to six, instead of seven.
More than 81 crore voters in the Indian democracy will vote this time.
The Commission indicated that there is no possibility of advancing the elections. Last month, the Commission had told an all-party meeting that it would not either advance the poll schedule or compress the schedule to avoid the summer heat. Generally, most parts of India will have extreme heat weather during April and May.
The current term of the Lok Sabha ends on 1 June 2014 and the new Lok Sabha should come into place by 31 May 2014.
To hold the election in a free and fair manner, the Commission has held meetings with the Union Home Ministry, State governments, paramilitary forces and the states' chief electoral officers.