No. ECI/PN/23/2019 Dated: 10th March, 2019
ANNOUNCEMENT OF SCHEDULE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS TO LOK SABHA AND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLIES IN ANDHRA PRADESH, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, ODISHA & SIKKIM, 2019.
The five-year term of the 16th Lok Sabha is due to expire on 03rdJune, 2019. Credible elections, conducted at regular prescribed intervals, are the very soul of any democratic system. Article 324 of the Constitution of India bestows the relevant powers, duties and functions upon the Election Commission of India while Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for the conduct of the elections to constitute a new Lok Sabha before the expiry of its current term. Taking into account these Constitutional and legal provisions, the Election Commission of India has made comprehensive preparations for the conduct of elections to the 17th Lok Sabha in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
Elections to the world’s largest democracy pose immense challenges with respect to logistics and man/woman and material management and Commission’s endeavour in this direction has been to consult all the stakeholders, invite inputs from all the relevant departments/ organizations and evolve a coordinated framework for smooth delivery of another round of General Elections.
In the course of assessing various dimensions involved in holding elections to the 543 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) and, in particular, the parameters to be considered for their scheduling and phasing, the Election Commission of India has planned meticulously for each and every aspect of election much in advance to ensure that these elections are conducted in best professional manner.
The Commission organized a series of meetings with the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all the 36 States and Union Territories (UTs) to review all the aspects of election preparedness in all the States and UTs and accordingly, appropriate instructions were issued to the CEOs for ensuring efficient conduct of the elections.
The Commission also held m e e t i n g with the Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police, Home Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers and Police Nodal Officers of all States and UTs on 21st, 22nd & 28thJanuary, 2019, to assess the overall law and order situation, ascertain State/ UT specific areas of concern, to deliberate on the quantum of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) required in each State/ UT and to review the overall preparedness of the election machinery. The cooperation of all authorities was sought for conducting free, fair and peaceful elections across the country, under the overall superintendence, direction and control of the Commission.
The Commission has visited different States to review the poll preparedness. During these visits, the Commission interacted with political parties, enforcement agencies, all District officers, SSPs/SPs, Divisional Commissioners, Range IGs and Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries, DGPs and other Senior officers of the States.
The conduct of General Elections in the entire country requires considerable deployment of Central and State Police Forces to ensure peaceful, free, fair election with fearless participation of
Electors, especially in the vulnerable areas/ pockets. Mobilization, deployment and disengagement of these forces with minimum criss cross movement and optimal utilization, involved complex planning and detailed analysis, carried out over several rounds of consultations with the senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs/ CAPFs/ Police Nodal Officers of the States/ UTs. The Commission also held discussions with the Union Home Secretary to highlight the areas of coordination for effective deployment of these forces.
The Commission also held meeting with Railway and many others in regard to the specific requirements of special trains, including other logistics, for smooth and timely movement of CAPF Companies and other police forces across States/ UTs, including their intra-State shifting during the election period.
Keeping in view the interests of the students and also the fact that Polling Stations are mostly located in school buildings and teachers are engaged as polling personnel, the Commission has consciously factored-in the examination schedules of various State Boards, including the Central Board of Secondary Education, in the process of finalizing the poll dates. In addition to this, other relevant factors like various holidays and festivals falling in the months of March, April and May, harvest season in certain parts of the country and the inputs obtained from the Indian Meteorological Department on the pre- monsoon rainfall, onset and spread of monsoon and acute hot weather conditions in certain parts of the country have also been taken into consideration. Thus, while deciding on the number of poll days for each State/ UT and the composition of the PCs that go to polls on a particular poll day, the Commission has, to the extent possible, taken all relevant aspects and information, related thereto, into view.