Five assembly polls to begin March 27, West Bengal to have max 8 phases, counting of votes on May 2

Everyone on poll duty to get COVID-19 vaccine before assembly elections: EC

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 26

Voting for five assembly elections will begin on March 27, with West Bengal having the maximum eight phases continuing till April 29, while counting of votes for the four states and one union territory will be done on May 2, the Election Commission said on Friday.

Assam assembly polls will be conducted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6, while polling for the Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry assembly elections will take place in a single phase on April 6.

Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases, up from seven last time, beginning with polling for 30 seats on March 27, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said while announcing the poll schedule.

Also read: Mamata questions eight phases of West Bengal elections

The second phase of West Bengal's assembly elections has been scheduled on April 1 and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on April 6 for 31 seats, fourth phase on April 10 for 44 constituencies, fifth phase on April 17 for 45 seats, sixth phase for 43 seats on April 22, seventh phase on April 26 for 36 seats and last and eighth phase on April 29 for 35 seats, Arora said. — PTI

The following are the important dates:

Assam

Phases: 3 phases

Assam

Phase 1: 47

Poll: March 22

Phase 2: 39

Notification: March 5

Poll: April 1 

Phase 3: 40

Notification: March 12

Poll: April 6

Kerala: 1 Phase

Notification: March 12

Poll: April 6

Tamil Nadu

234 seats: 1 phase

Notification: March 12

Poll: April 6

Puducherry

Elections in one phase

Notification: March 12 

Polling: April 6

West Bengal

Elections in eight phases

Phase 1: 38 seats

Notification: March 2

Poll: March 27

Phase 2: 30 seats

Notification: March 5

Poll: April 1    

Phase 3: 31 seats

Notification: March 12

Poll: April 6

Phase 4: 44 seats

Notification: March 16

Poll: April 10

Phase 5: 45 seats

Poll: April 17

Phase 6: 43 seats

Notification: March 26

Poll: April 22

Phase 7: 36 assembly segments

Notification: March 31

Poll: April 26

Phase 8: 35 seats

Notification: March 31

Poll: April 29

Arora said that the Bihar assembly election was a litmus test for election authorities, coming as it did in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Some 18.86 crore voters will vote for 824 assembly seats, the election commissioner said. There will be 2.7 lakh polling stations, he said. 

All election officers will be vaccinated. Door-to-door campaigning will be restricted to five people because of COVID-19.

"Adequate CRPF troops have been despatched to all five states and UT," he said. "Adequate CAPFs deployment will be ensured during elections. All critical and vulnerable polling stations identified and an adequate number of CAPFs will be deployed," he said.

Political roadshows will be allowed with a limit of five vehicles.              

“Everyone on election duty for the upcoming polls for five assemblies will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before polling day,” Arora said.

Arrangements will be put in place for candidates to file their nominations online for the five assembly polls. Voting will be allowed for an additional hour, keeping in mind COVID-19 safety guidelines, he said.

Also, webcasting arrangements will be in place at polling stations in critical and vulnerable areas, while adequate CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) deployment will be ensured for the assembly polls, Arora said. All critical and vulnerable areas have been identified and advance teams have been already deployed across all four states and one union territory Puducherry going to the polls, he added.                            

Arora said the nationwide vaccination drive has made the situation more conducive for conducting elections and the Health Ministry has declared everyone on poll duty as frontline workers for the vaccine purpose.

"Keeping in view different sensitivities in different states, the commission has appointed two special police observers to West Bengal and two expenditure observers in Tamil Nadu," Arora said. 

Model Code of Conduct comes into force as soon as the elections are announced,  Assam has 126 seats, Tamil Nadu has 234, WB has 294, Kerala has 140 and Puducherry has 30 seats.

The current Assam Assembly's term ends on May 31; Tamil Nadu's on May 4; West Bengal's on May 31; Kerala's on June 1, and Puducherry's on June 8.

—With agencies 

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