The schedule for Lok Sabha elections is likely to be announced in the first week of March, sources in the Election Commission indicated on Friday. The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
The Election Commission is in the process of deciding the number of phases and the months in which polling would be held, they said. An EC spokesperson, however, said, “No decision has been taken as yet on the date when the elections would be announced.”
The charting of the phases would depend on the availability of security forces and other requirements, the sources said, adding the announcement of the mega exercise is likely to be made in first week of March.
There is a possibility that the EC may go by precedent and hold assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there within six months.
It was dissolved in November 2018 and the upper limit ends in May. The poll panel may hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls as well. But it can be held before that also as much depends on the complex security situation there, they said.
In normal circumstances, the J-K assembly’s six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021. The other state assemblies and Lok Sabha have a five-year term.
While the term of the Sikkim Assembly ends on May 27, 2019, the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.
In 2004, the Election Commission had announced four-phase Lok Sabha polls on February 29. While the first date of poll was April 20, the last date was May 10.
In 2009, the EC had announced Lok Sabha poll scheduled on March 2. The five-phase polls began on April 16 and ended on May 13.
In 2014, the EC had announced the election schedule on March 5 and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May.
While the first phase polling was on April 7, the last phase was on May 12.