LS Election Dates To Be Announced At 3 pm

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New Delhi: Dates for the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be announced at 3 pm Saturday, the Election Commission of India said on Friday. The ECI posted a brief statement on X (formerly Twitter) that said dates for four Assembly polls – scheduled to be held around the same time – would also be released.

The Model Code of Conduct will come into force from the time the dates are announced. The 2019 election was held over seven phases from April 11 to May 19, with results declared four days later.

The four states expected to vote in April/May are Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim; Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand scheduled to vote later this year. Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, are also set to vote, in line with a Supreme Court order directing the conduct of Assembly polls by September 30 as the first step towards restoration of statehood.

In a first, the poll panel has given 24-hour notice of a press conference to announce voting dates, polling phases, and other details, including deployment of security personnel in states where post-poll violence and clashes with Maoist or rebel forces is a factor that needs to be considered.

Lok Sabha Election 2024 Dates: The 2019 election was held from April 11 to April 19 (File).

Bengal’s ruling Trinamool has already underlined its position, calling for a single-phase election for the state’s 42 seats and demanding central security forces not “threaten/intimidate voters”.

Election Commissioners Case In Supreme Court

The ECI’s pre-announcement comes a day after two new Election Commissioners were inducted, after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and Arun Goel’s surprise resignation last week. Former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu have been named to the panel.

The nomination of Mr Kumar and Mr Sandhu was challenged by the Association for Democratic Reforms, a non-partisan organisation working on electoral and political reforms. The ADR, which also petitioned the top court in the electoral bonds issue, had sought a stay on the two appointments, challenging the decision to exclude Chief Justice DY Chandrachud from the selection panel.

The top court – which was hearing the petition as the ECI posted its tweet – has refused to stay Mr Kumar and Mr Sandhu’s appointment, and said the matter will be heard next on March 21.

Under current laws, Election Commissioners are appointed by the President based on the input of a three-member panel chaired by the Prime Minister. The panel also includes a Union Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, which is currently the Congress’ Adhir Chowdhury.

In March 2023, however, the Supreme Court had said the panel should consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice. However, in an addendum seen by many as giving the government an out, the court said the order would remain till passage of a law that said otherwise.

In December the government passed a law that establishes a new mechanism – swapping the Chief Justice for a Union Minister – to appoint all, or any one, of the three election commissioners.

The poll panel is headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)