Chief Election Commissioner V. S Sampath is set to announce the election schedule for the 16th Lok Sabha Elections at 10.30 am on 5 March at a media conference in Delhi. This time the poll-schedule is expected to stretch into eight to nine schedules.
The election is expected to be scheduled between the first week of April and May, and the results of the polls may be announced by mid-May, say media reports. The term of the current Lok Sabha ends on 1 June and the new House has to come into being by 31 May.
Once the poll schedule is announced today, the Model Code of Conduct for governments, including the Union government, will come into force with immediate effect.
Expecting heavy rush of media persons, the EC has arranged the press conference at Plenary Hall of the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
Some states such as Odisha, Sikkim and the two new states-Telangana and Seemandhra, to be born out of the United Andhra Pradesh, may also go to polls simultaneously along with the Lok Sabha polls.
This election will decide the fate of the stalwarts like BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who are being seen as strong contenders for the post of the prime minister of the largest democracy. The Third Front may also finalise their prime ministerial candidates from non-Congress and non-BJP parties.
This time, the EC will conduct polls in constituencies that have been badly hit by Naxal violence. The election schedule for these Naxal violence-hit states is expected to be in the first schedule. During 2009 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Naxals created violence in 33 districts across States, such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
A total of 81.46 crore electorate of the country is likely vote this time. The number of the electorate has gone up by 9.76 crore since 2009 polls. This is the first general elections in the country where voters will be given a choice to reject all the candidates by choosing "none of the above" (NOTA) option.
The EC has also increased the election expenditure this time. For Lok Sabha candidates, the expenditure has been increased to ₹70 lakh from ₹40 lakh and for Assembly elections, the expenditure has been increased to ₹28 lakh from ₹16 lakh in bigger states.