New Delhi: The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 schedule is likely to be announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) ‘any day’, a senior functionary of the poll body was quoted as saying by PTI. Further he stated that the announcement over the dates for general election ‘could happen over the weekend or at most by Tuesday’. Notably, the term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3. (ALSO READ – We Don’t Operate as Per PM’s Schedule: EC Responds to ‘Delay’ in Announcing Lok Sabha Poll Date)

As per sources, quoted by PTI, the poll panel is in final stages of completing its logistical preparations to hold elections for the 17th Lok Sabha and a detailed polling schedule, which is likely to be spread over 7-8 phases in April-May, could be announced as early this weekend or by early next week. The announcement of dates for the elections would be followed by a meeting of election observers next week for the first and second phase of polling.

Notification for the first phase could be issued by the end of March for voting some time in early April, sources suggested.

There is a strong possibility that the EC may go by the 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 as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.

The Commission has held several review meetings across the country in last few weeks to gear up its machinery.

The required electronic voting machines and paper trail machines are in place to be deployed in nearly 10 lakh poling stations across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.

In 2004, the Commission had announced four-phase Lok Sabha polls on February 29. While the first date of polling was April 20 and 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.

(Inputs from PTI)