15 Mar 2024

Announcement of Lok Sabha Election-2024 Dates Expected On This Day; Model Code of Conduct Will Come into Force

The Election Commission of India announced this afternoon that the dates for the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be revealed at 3 pm on Saturday. Alongside, the Commission will also unveil the dates for four Assembly polls anticipated to be held around the same period.

Once the dates are disclosed, the Model Code of Conduct will be enforced. In the 2019 election, spanning from April 11 to May 19 across seven phases, results were declared four days later.

The upcoming assembly elections in April/May are anticipated in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim. Meanwhile, Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand polls are scheduled for later this year. Additionally, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, are set to vote by September 30, complying with a Supreme Court order for the restoration of statehood.

In an unprecedented move, the election panel has announced a press conference with 24-hour notice to unveil voting dates, polling phases, and security deployment details, especially in states prone to post-poll violence and conflicts with Maoist or rebel groups.

Amidst this, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has advocated for a single-phase election for the state's 42 seats, urging the deployment of central security forces without intimidating voters.

Election Commissioners' Case Before SC

The Election Commission's announcement precedes a significant development wherein two new Election Commissioners were appointed following the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and the unexpected resignation of Arun Goel last week. Former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu have been appointed to the panel.

However, their nominations faced challenge from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-partisan organization dedicated to electoral and political reforms. ADR, which previously petitioned the top court on the issue of electoral bonds, sought a stay on the appointments, contesting the exclusion of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud from the selection panel.

While the top court deliberated on the petition concurrently with the ECI's announcement, it declined to stay the appointments of Kumar and Sandhu. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on March 21.

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