ECI Announces Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule


04:19 AM

1 min read
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What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in News?
  • Announcement of the Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule
  • Number of Voters, Polling Stations and Officials
  • The ECI Faces the Following Challenges and Has Taken the Following Steps
  • Why 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Extend into June?

Why in News?

Kicking off the world’s largest election exercise, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced that the 18th Lok Sabha elections would be held in 7 phases from April 19 to June 1, with counting of votes on June 4.

With the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force, bringing announcements of new schemes by the government and use of government machinery for electioneering by ministers to a halt.

Announcement of the Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule

  • The exercise will stretch for 81 days, which was concluded in 75 days in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • The ECI also announced the schedule for the Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim Assembly elections, where polling would be held on the same day as the Lok Sabha polling.
  • The EC also announced bye-elections to 26 Assembly seats across states.
  • According to the CEC, while all political parties in J&K asked for the Assembly elections to be held simultaneously with Lok Sabha, it was not possible due to administrative reasons.
    • Owing to the security concerns in J&K, each candidate would have to be provided with security.

Number of Voters, Polling Stations and Officials

  • A total of 96.8 crore voters, of which 49.7 crore are male and 47.1 crore are female, including 88.4 lakh persons with disabilities, 48,000 transgender voters and 19.1 lakh service electors, will be eligible to cast their votes.
  • There are 1.8 crore first-time voters who are 18 to 19 years old, and 19.74 crore in the age group 20-29 years.
    • In other words, those under 30 make up a fifth of the total voters.
    • Young voters and women voters, who outnumber men in 12 states, were well represented in the electoral roll.
  • The number of polling stations increased to 10.48 lakh (up from 10.35 lakh in 2019) and would involve 1.5 crore polling and security officials, 55 lakh EVMs and 4 lakh vehicles.

The ECI Faces the Following Challenges and Has Taken the Following Steps

  • According to the CEC, the ECI faces four challenges - 4Ms (muscle, money, misinformation and MCC violations).
  • Asked why the elections spread across seven phases (in 2024 as was the case in 2019 as well), the CEC highlighted the -
    • Historical and geographic situation of the country,
    • Weather (extending into the peak summer months), festivals, examinations and movement of security forces, as some of the challenges.
  • The ECI is establishing 24/7 integrated control rooms in districts and webcasting in sensitive booths and a minimum of 50% of all polling stations. On some international borders, there will be drone-based checking too.
  • Addressing political parties, the CEC said the ECI would not tolerate MCC violations and would have a “calibrated approach”.
  • Asked if voting in a peak summer month would affect voter turnout, the official said that by the 7th phase, only 57 seats would be left.
    • All southern states and a state like Rajasthan where maximum temperatures go very high would have finished their voting by then.

Why 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Extend into June?

  • The first general election to Lok Sabha was held over 68 phases from October 25, 1951, to February 21, 1952.
  • The only other time general elections were held in June was the 1991 Lok Sabha polls, but that was because the Chandra Shekhar government was dissolved 16 months after it was sworn in.
  • The spillover of the 18th Lok Sabha elections into June is primarily due to two reasons: 6-days delay in the poll announcement (when compared with the 2019 polls) and consecutive festivals.
  • The Commission had to ensure that important dates such as the last date of withdrawal or polling days did not coincide with festivals (such as Holi, Tamil new year, Bihu and Baisakhi in March and April).
  • The delay in the poll announcement was partly circumstantial, as Election Commissioner Arun Goel abruptly quit, citing personal reasons.
    • At the time of Goel’s resignation, the third Election Commissioner, Anup Chandra Pandey, had already retired.
    • Although legally only the CEC can conduct the elections, it was preferred to have the full Commission in place going into an election as crucial as the Lok Sabha elections.
    • The government appointed two new Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, on March 14.

Q1) How are the Lok Sabha elections in India conducted?

Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers.

Q2) Who recommends the names for the appointment of the election commissioners of India?

According to the CEC and other ECs (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act 2023, a panel comprising the PM; the LoP in Lok Sabha and a Union cabinet minister to be nominated by the PM, shall recommend the name for the appointment to be made by the President.

Source: Lok Sabha election dates are in: Voting begins April 19, results on June 4 | IE