A total of 1.1 crore election personnel, half of them being security forces, would be drafted and deployed for the smooth conduct of polls, expected to be held in April-May this year, in five to six phases. The personnel will also ensure that the polls in the world’s largest democracy are free and fair.
“There will be a final meeting of the Commission with the Union Home Secretary for finalising the availability of security forces for poll duty,” a source said, adding that around 55 lakh civilian employees would be required to act as poll officials during the huge exercise.
At least 8 lakh polling stations would be identified and prepared across the country, and over 12 lakh electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be made available for the elections. The EC is getting 2.5 lakh new EVMs by mid-February for use during the general elections.
Officials also said though the entire poll process took around three months to complete, the polling schedule is usually announced only six weeks before the first phase of polls, in consonance with a Supreme Court directive to ensure the code of conduct does not inhibit government functioning.
And, the last phase of polling usually is about two weeks ahead of the current Lok Sabha’s term expiring, to allow for new government formation well in time.