Lok sabha election 2019
Election staff prepare Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) ahead of India's general election at a warehouse in Ahmedabad, March 6, 2019.Reuters

The Election Commission of India on Sunday announced that the Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases. The first phase will be held on April 11, second phase on April 18, third phase on 23, fourth phase on April 29, fifth phase on May 6, sixth phase on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19.

The counting of votes of all phases will take place on May 23. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora also announced that the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect from Sunday. "Any violation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections will be dealt with in the strictest manner," Arora said.

The announcements were made at a press conference at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. 

The phase one will have 91 constituencies in 20 states, phase two will have 97 constituencies in 13 states, phase three will have 115 constituencies in 14 states, phase four will have 71 constituencies in nine states, phase five will have 51 constituencies in seven states, phase six will have 59 constituencies in seven states, and phase seven will have 59 constituencies in eight states.

On Saturday, the Commission had conducted a review meeting as part of its preparations for the multi-phased elections, which will be held in seven to eight phases in April-May.

The schedule for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was announced that year on March 5. The model code of conduct will come into effect from the date of declaration of the polls.

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the paper trail machines are ready to be sent to the 10 lakh polling booths across the country in 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Congress celebrates victory over BJP
Congress celebrates victory over BJPgettyimages

On Saturday, the EC had requested all the political parties to not add photos of defence personnel in the campaign posters and advertisements. In their statement, the EC asked parties to "to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel or photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements or as part of their election campaign".

It also said, "The Commission reiterates the instructions for strict compliance."

(With agency inputs)