LS elections: Stage set for free, fair peaceful conduct of 1st phase polling, says ECI

The first phase will also witness polling in 92 assembly constituencies in the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
 Polling officials and security personnel with EVMs and other election materials disembark from a ferry on their way to a polling station ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Golaghat, Assam, Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Polling officials and security personnel with EVMs and other election materials disembark from a ferry on their way to a polling station ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Golaghat, Assam, Thursday, April 18, 2024.PTI

NEW DELHI: As the stage is set for the commencement of the seven-phase polling for electing 18th Lok Sabha on April 19, the Election Commission of India on Thursday said that it has made elaborate arrangements and adequate security measures for free, fair and peaceful voting experience to 16.63 voters at 1.87 lakh polling stations in 102 parliamentary constituencies spread over 21 states.

Officials in the ECI said that the polling parties in the election-bound areas have been dispatched with electronic voting machines and other materials. Around 18 lakh personnel have been deployed to conduct the pollin the first phase of voting.

“By this evening the polling staff would reach their respective polling stations along with required machinery so that voting begins tomorrow as per schedule,” a senior ECI official said here, while adding that local authorities in the poll-bound areas have deployed adequate security personnel to ensure polling is held in a free and fair atmosphere.

 Polling officials and security personnel with EVMs and other election materials disembark from a ferry on their way to a polling station ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Golaghat, Assam, Thursday, April 18, 2024.
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Voting to elect 543 Lok Sabha members will be held in staggered seven phases between April 19 and June 1and the vote count is scheduled to take place on June 4 and the results will be announced the same day.

The officials said, voting will begin at 7AM and will end at 6 PM, as the closure of polling may differ constituency wise. Out of the total 102 seats, 73 are general, 11 constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and 18 for Scheduled Castes.

The first phase will also witness polling in 92 assembly constituencies in the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Of the total 16.63 crore voters 8.4 crore are male, 8.23 crore female and 11,371 are of third gender, according to the data presented by the ECI.

The data also reveals that there are 35.67 lakh first time voters and 3.51 crore young voters in the age group 20-29 years.

There are 1,625 candidates comprising 1491 male and 134 female in the fray, the ECI revealed.

 Polling officials and security personnel with EVMs and other election materials disembark from a ferry on their way to a polling station ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Golaghat, Assam, Thursday, April 18, 2024.
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It also informed that 41 helicopters, 84 Special trains and nearly 1 lakh vehicles have been deployed to ferry polling and security personnel.

The ECI said that webcasting will be done in more than 50 percent of the polling stations along with deployment of micro observers in all polling stations.

Giving details of such officials it said, there will be 361 Observers (127 General Observers, 67 Police Observers, 167 Expenditure Observers), who have already reached their designated constituencies days before the polls. They serve as the eyes and ears of the Commission to exercise utmost vigilance, it added.

 Polling officials and security personnel with EVMs and other election materials disembark from a ferry on their way to a polling station ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Golaghat, Assam, Thursday, April 18, 2024.
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