Electronic voting machine
Indian election officials count votes on an electronic voting machine inside a vote count centre.Reuters

India's Election Commission (EC) on 5 March 2014, announced the schedule for Lok Sabha elections 2014 and Assembly elections in a few states. The nine-phase poll schedule will begin from 7 April and ends on 12 May and the counting of votes will be on 16 May, said the Chief Election Commissioner V. S Sampath at a media conference in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on Wednesday. He was flanked by Election Commissioners- HS Brahma and Nasim Zaidi.

A total of 81.46 crore voters will exercise their franchise this time in the country. Compared to 2009 election, there is an increase of about 9.76 crore electorate this time. This is the first Lok Sabha poll in which the voters can reject all candidates by choosing the NOTA (none of the above) option. 

The present term of the Lok Sabha ends on 1 June and the new House of the Lok Sabha has to be constituted by 31 May 2014. The Commission has also announced poll schedule for Assembly elections in Odisha, Sikkim and Telangana, a new state to come into being on 2 June 2014.  

While deciding the poll schedule, the EC has taken into consideration factors like examination schedule to college students and weather conditions. Electoral rolls have been updated till 1 January 2014 and the final electoral rolls have been published in all states. The EC has given another opportunity to voters to enroll their names on 9 March 2014 at all polling booths, Sampath said. About 9.30 lakh polling booths have been set up in the country. 

"To ensure free and fair elections we have taken particular care for the people living in vulnerable areas and those voters are in continuous touch with the election machinery to ensure that they are able to vote uninterpreted by anyone," Zeenews quoted Sampath.

On controlling poll expenditure, "The Election Commission has mounted a series of measures for monitoring expenditure; special emphasis is given to check flow of money during elections," he added.

Following is the State-wise polling schedule

Andhra Pradesh: 30 April, 7 May
Arunachal Pradesh: 9 April
Assam: 7, 12, 24 April
Bihar: 10, 17, 24, 30, April and 7, 12 May
Chhattisgarh: 10, 17, 24 April
Goa: 17 April
Gujarat: 30 April
Haryana: 10 April
Himachal Pradesh: 7 May
Jammu and Kashmir: 10, 17, 24, 30 April and 7 May
Jharkhand: 10, 17, 24  April
Karnataka: 17 April
Kerala: 10 April
Madhya Pradesh:10, 17, 24 April
Maharashtra: 10, 17, 24 April
Manipur: 9, 17 April
Meghalaya: 9 April
Mizoram: 9 April
Nagaland: 9 April
Odisha: 10, 17 April
Punjab: 30 April
Rajasthan: 17, 24 April
Sikkim: 12 April
Tamil Nadu: 24 April
Tripura: 7, 12 April
Uttar Pradesh: 10, 17, 24, 30, April and 7, 12 May
Uttarakhand: 7 May
West Bengal: 17, 24, 30 April and 7, 12 May
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 10 April
Chandigarh: 10 April
Dadra and Nagar Haveli: 30 April
Daman and Diu: 30 April
Lakshadweep: 10 April
NCT/Delhi: 10 April
Puducherry: 24 April