Election Commission may go for six-phase poll in April-May

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    Election Commission may go for six-phase poll in April-May - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: The Election Commission, which is now in the final stages of drawing up the general election schedule, is looking at the first week of March to announce polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim. As per indications available, polling may be conducted over six phases in April-May and approximately last a month.

    Elections are likely to be completed by May 15, allowing political parties a fortnight to explore options for forming the next government. The term of the current Lok Sabha comes to an end on May 31.

    While sources in the home ministry, which works closely with the EC on phasing of polls based on the availability of central paramilitary forces, hinted that the polls may be declared as early as March 3, a senior EC functionary said the announcement may come anytime between March 6 and 10.

    The model code of conduct will come into effect immediately after EC issues the press note on the schedule for polls.

    As many as 1.2 lakh security personnel, including central paramilitary forces and armed wings of various state police, are likely to be deployed for the general election. The country's electorate now stands at 81.4 crore, with 9.7 crore new voters getting added to the rolls since the 2009 polls.

    Candidates can look forward to a significant raise in the expenditure ceiling, which may be revised to Rs 70 lakh from Rs 40 lakh for a Lok Sabha constituency and to Rs 28 lakh from Rs 16 lakh for an assembly seat in the bigger states. The new limits, based on change in prices, are likely to be notified by the law ministry soon.

    Though the home ministry has suggested that polling in "difficult" areas like Naxalite-dominated pockets of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha be conducted in the initial phase, allowing maximum concentration of central forces, the commission may cover these regions only midway through the schedule. Sources said polling in this tribal belt, which has a good concentration of Christians, may be scheduled only after Good Friday (April 18) and Easter (April 20).

    The EC will also take into account other festivals and holidays in April, including Ramnavami (April 8), Baisakhi (April 13/14), Bihu (celebrated in Assam over three days in mid-April) and Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14) while finalizing the poll schedule.
     
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    Poll panel raises expenditure limit for Lok Sabha campaign by 30 lakhs | NDTV.com

    The Election Commission today raised the ceiling on poll expenditure for a Lok Sabha seat from Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 70 lakh, effecting a 75% hike in the amount of money that a candidate can spend on his campaign.

    The poll panel, likewise, revised the expenditure cap for election to an assembly seat, enhancing it to Rs. 28 lakh from the existing Rs. 16 lakh, marking an increase of 75%.

    The new spending thresholds will come into effect after the centre notifies the revised figures. The Lok Sabha election, due by May, will be held in accordance with the revised spending guidelines.

    The Election Commission has, in the past few weeks, been holding consultations with experts and representatives of various political parties on the proposal to raise the expenditure levels for candidates to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The overwhelming view was that the poll ceiling should be raised in keeping with the inflationary pressures. An all-party meeting held on February 4 had described the existing spending ceilings as "impractical.''

    The poll panel has, by convention, revised the expenditure cap every five years. It was tweaked last in 2011, when the ceiling for a Lok Sabha seat was raised from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh.
     
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    Uttar Pradesh has maximum voters in country

    New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of voters in the country followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, the Election Commission said Wednesday.

    As per the electoral data of 2014 released by the commission Feb 14, of the 814,591,184 voters, Uttar Pradesh has 16.4 percent of the total voters and Maharashtra has 9.6 percent followed by West Bengal at 7.699 percent, Andhra Pradesh at 7.659 percent and Bihar at 7.624 percent.

    With 3.62 lakh voters or 0.044 percent of the national electorate, Sikkim has the smallest number of voters.

    The EC said the 28 states together account for 98.27 percent of the voters while the seven union territories constitute the remaining 1.73 percent.

    Delhi accounts for 1.48 percent of the voters while the other six union territories constitute 0.253 percent of the Indian electorate.

    IANS
     
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