Model Code comes into effect
The Model Code of Conduct for parties and governments comes into force with immediate effect, he said.
The nation will go to polls on April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24, 30, May 7 and May 12 and the whole exercise will be over in 72 days, three days less than the last elections, he added.
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. A total of 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.
Poll days, not phases
Announcing the election schedule, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said, this should not be viewed as phases. "They are poll days," he said.
Special camps will be organised at all polling stations on March 9 for voters to verify, add or modify their details in the electoral list.
Election Commission has decided to distribute photo election slips with polling station details at his/her doorstep, within 3-7 days from the date of the poll.
Polls on all Naxal-hit seats on same day
Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath announced that all Naxalism-hit seats will be covered in one single day.
He said that the neighbouring states, like UP and Bihar, will go to poll on the same day. Similarly, Delhi and Haryana will have one poll day on April 10.
Jharkhand will have three poll days April 10, 17 and 24, he said.
EC has eyes on use of money
Appealing to all the candidates for ensuring that polls remain peaceful, the Chief Election Commissioner asked them not to use words that cause personal hurt to rivals.
Maitaining that use of money power is a matter of concern for the EC, Sampath said the Commission has taken measures for expenditure monitoring. There will be flying squads, check posts to keep an on money power, he said.
1.1 crore poll personnel on duty
The 2009 polls were held in five phases from April 16 to May 13.
The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1, and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.
It could be the first time the country witnesses elections over such a long period.
An estimated 81.4 crore voters will be eligible to vote in the coming elections with 9.71 crore new voters being added to the rolls since the last elections. The electoral rolls are ready after being updated with January 1 as the cut-off date.
A total of 1.1 crore poll personnel, half of security personnel, will be deployed to ensure a free and fair poll. The database of the civilian staff to be deployed for conducting the polls has been prepared and at least 5.5 million civilians would be deployed.
Paper trail on trial basis, NOTA option
For the first time in parliamentary polls, a system of paper trail for electronic voting will be introduced in some constituencies on a trial basis. A paper trail would help in avoiding controversies in case of a dispute.
The EC has also issued guidelines to political parties asking them to explain the rationale of financing the promises they make in their election manifestos.
From the coming elections, candidates in a parliamentary constituency in bigger states can spend up to Rs.70 lakh on their campaign, up from Rs.40 lakh in 2011. In the 2009 elections, it was Rs.25 lakh.
Another first in the Lok Sabha elections will be the introduction of the ' None of the Above' option, which came into vogue in the Assembly elections a few months ago.