Five States Go to Polls in April-May, Counting on 19 May
Election Commission announces dates. (Photo: <b>The Quint)</b>
Election Commission announces dates. (Photo: The Quint)

Five States Go to Polls in April-May, Counting on 19 May

The Election Commission has announced dates for the upcoming assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced on Friday that the elections will be held in April and May. The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

Assam will have a two-phase election on April 4 and 11 and West Bengal will see balloting on seven dates: April 4, 11, 17, 21, 25 and 30 and May 5.

In contrast, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will see polling on a single day: May 16.

Votes polled in all five states will be counted on May 19, Zaidi told media persons in New Delhi.

Apart from that, the none of the above (NOTA) option will now have a symbol on the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

For the first time, the commission has provided a new symbol, designed by National Institute of Design (NID), for the NOTA option. This new symbol will facilitate the voters in casting their vote
Nasim Zaidi, Election Commissioner

In order to facilitate voters in identifying candidates, the commission has prescribed a new measure. There will be a provision for printing the photograph of the candidate on the EVMs and postal ballot papers.

This will also take care of likely confusion when candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency. For this purpose, the candidates are required to submit to the returning officer, their recent stamp-size photograph as per specifications laid down by the commission. 

Many of the poll-bound states will be using the photographs of the candidates on the ballot papers for the first time.

Zaidi said the EC has also taken various measures to ensure free and fair elections. He said the EC will create an atmosphere in which voters are able to access the polling station, without being obstructed or being unduly influenced or intimidated by anybody.

Based on the assessment of the ground situation, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and State Armed Police (SAP) drawn from other States will be deployed during these elections
Nasim Zaidi, Election Commissioner

(With IANS inputs.)

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