More than 10 million election officials. One million polling stations across the length and breadth of India. Around 900 million voters to exercise their franchise.
Conducting elections in the world’s largest democracy is a mammoth task.
No wonder then that SY Quraishi, former chief election commissioner of India (CEC), once described India’s elections as “not only the biggest elections in the world, but also the largest human management project.”
This Lok Sabha elections, the number of voters have increased by 84.3 million since the 2014 elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said on Sunday, 10 March, announcing the poll schedule.
As the ECI gears up to conduct the much-anticipated electoral battle, here’s everything you need to know about the body that runs the show.
An autonomous constitutional body, the ECI was set up on 25 January 1950, with Sukumar Sen as its first CEC. Under Article 324 of the Constitution, the body “supervises, directs and controls” the Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly polls of each state.
The CEC is appointed by the president for a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years.
At the time of its formation, the ECI was a single-member body with the CEC as the chairperson. In 1989, two additional election commissioners were appointed, making the ECI a three-member body. Though discontinued briefly, the ECI today remains a multi-member body with decisions made by majority vote.
Commemorating the formation date of the ECI, each year on 25 January, India marks the day as National Voters' Day. This was initiated by former President Pratibha Patil in 2011.