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Sun 10 Mar 2019 04:43 PM

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India announces poll dates as Modi battles for majority

Nearly 900 million voters are entitled to vote in the general elections, billed as the biggest democratic exercise in the world

India announces poll dates as Modi battles for majority
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party BJP-led national democratic alliance will be seeking a second term at the centre in the forthcoming elections for 543 Lok Sabha seats.

India will go to polls from April 11 in a seven-phase schedule to elect its next government, the Election Commission of India announced on Sunday.

Along with the Lok Sabha elections, four Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim - will also vote for their respective assemblies, the Election Commission said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party BJP-led national democratic alliance will be seeking a second term at the centre in the forthcoming elections for 543 Lok Sabha seats. 

Rahul Gandhi-led GoP Indian National Congress and 21 opposition parties are trying to cobble together a broad national alliance to scuttle NDA’s efforts for a re-election.

The elections will start on April 11 and continue till May 19. The counting will be held on May 23. 

Nearly 900 million voters are entitled to vote in the general elections, billed as the biggest democratic exercise in the world.

Many of the voters will be first-time voters, who are among the focus groups of both Modi and Rahul Gandhi.

Both Modi and Gandhi have been criss-crossing various Indian states in the recent weeks, addressing mammoth party rallies and other platforms to woo voters.

The announcement of the poll schedule will put the model code of conduct in force from today. The model code of conduct, which disallows announcement of new policy measures or major projects by the government, is designed to create a level-playing field for opposition parties.

The code lays down the dos and don’ts for the political parties ahead of elections.

“While finalising the election dates, exam schedules of state examination boards, CBSE, various festivals including religious and harvest season are also adequately factored in,” said chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, at a media conference.