New Delhi: The election commission is likely to announce the dates of upcoming Lok Sabha polls in the first week of March, reports said. The term of present Lok Sabha ends on June 3. The election will be held in 6 to 7 phases, news agency ANI reported on Friday.

Apart from Lok Sabha elections, five more states are slated to go to polls in this year. There is a 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 may hold fresh polls there within six months. The Jammu and Kashmir assembly six-term six-year term will end on March 16, 2021. The other state assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.

While the term of the Sikkim Assembly ends on May 27, 2019, the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.

News agency PTI reported that the commission is in the process of deciding the number of phases and the months in which polling would be held.

The charting of the phases would also 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.

Notably, in 2014, the EC had announced the election schedule on March 5 and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May. While the first phase polling was on April 7, the last phase was on May 12.

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission (EC) had ordered its Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Delhi to request the police to take strict action against those involved in circulating fake news regarding upcoming Lok Sabha Election dates on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp.

The poll panel had asked the police to take immediate action against unknown persons and entities responsible for spreading fake news. The office of the CEO issued a letter to the Delhi Police on Thursday, asking it to investigate the matter and take “immediate necessary action”.

The probe in question is over the news report which claims that Lok Sabha polls will start on April 7 and end on May 17. The said item then goes on to list poll dates for each of the states. Though the EC denied the news related to Lok Sabha polls 2019, it took a step further and lodged a complaint with the police.

The Election Commission (EC) will also take steps to increase the tallying of VVPAT to 30 per cent for the forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The current tallying of VVPAT is a record 10 per cent. The notice was issued by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul. The Commission also said that it would soon ensure the allocation of the VVPAT for over 10 lakh polling stations.

The ECI has also assured the timely allocation of EVMs for the upcoming 2019 general elections.