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2019 National elections - Dates announced

March 11, 2019

The national election will be held in seven rounds from 11 April and the results will be announced on 23 May. This was the announcement made by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday.

Voting will be held across India on 11 April, 18 April, 23 April, 29 April, 6 May, 12 May and 19 May.

This signals the start of a massive voting exercise which will also see elections held in four states - Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha - along with the parliamentary polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after the announcement:

The festival of democracy, elections are here. I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers. Best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India assuring smooth elections. India is very proud of the EC for assiduously organising elections for several years. - Prime Minister Narendra Modi

However, assembly elections will not be held in Jammu and Kashmir along with the national elections. This has been criticised by people in the Kashmir Valley. In a tweet, political leader Mehbooba Mufti said, "Decision to hold only Parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of the government of India. Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives."

The Model Code of Conduct, which sets down the do's and don'ts ahead of the elections, is now in place. The Congress has accused the ECI of delaying the dates to enable the NDA government to launch many welfare schemes and projects. These announcements cannot be made once the code of conduct comes into effect. These allegations have been denied by the ECI.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said "Examination schedules of all state boards and factors like festivals and harvest season were taken into consideration while fixing poll dates".

About 900 million voters will be eligible to vote. Fifteen million of them are between 18-19 years of age.

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