ghost voters

New Delhi: The schedule for Lok Sabha elections is likely to be announced in the first week of March, sources indicated on Friday.

The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on 3 June.

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 the 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 Jammu and Kashmir assembly’s six-year term was to end on 16 March 2021. The other state assemblies and Lok Sabha have a five-year term.

While the term of the Sikkim Assembly ends on 27 May, the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on 18 June, 11 June and 1 June respectively.

In 2004, the Election Commission had announced four-phase Lok Sabha polls on 29 February. While the first date of the poll was 20 April, the last date was 10 May.

In 2009, the EC had announced Lok Sabha poll scheduled on 2 March. The five-phase polls began on 16 April and ended on 13 May.

In 2014, the EC had announced the election schedule on 5 March and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May.

While the first phase polling was on 7 April, the last phase was on 12 May.