The Election Commision of India has sounded the poll bugle for the most exciting Lok Sabha elections. It will be held in nine phases, spread over 36 days from April 7 to May 12. The nine days fixed for polling are April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24 and 30 and May 7 and 12. With the elction announcement, the model code of conduct has come into immediate effect. The counting of votes will be done on May 16 and the results are expected by the same evening. Along with the Lok Sabha election, three state assemblies — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim — will also go to the hustings.
Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath has appealed to all political parties and candidates to uphold the finest democratic traditions by maintaining high standards of political discourse and fair play and to refrain from using language that is against decorum and decency.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will vote on six days; West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir on five; Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra on three; and Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tripura on two days. There will be a single-day poll in Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Goa, a majority of northeastern states and the Union Territories including Delhi.
This election promises to be different due to the spread of social media as a campaigning tool. This poll will see Facebook, Twitter and various apps being put to use to mobilize the 14.95 Crore new voters. Should one believe the opinion polls, the Congress is staring at its worst-ever electoral show, with some polls putting its figure in double digits. On the other hand, the BJP seems poised to make huge electoral gains this time. Narendra Modi's arrival on the rally scene has galvanized the party base and has triggered hopes of a return to power after a decade-long wait. The Modi-led resurgence, along with a deep antipathy for the Congress, raises the possibility of a right-wing, growth-centric political model occupying the centrestage.