544, Not 543 Seats Voting In Lok Sabha Polls? What Election Chief Said

544, Not 543 Seats Voting In Lok Sabha Polls? What Election Chief Said

The elections for two Lok Sabha seats in Manipur will be held in two phases. (Representational)

New Delhi:

The elections for 543 seats in Lok Sabha will begin on April 19 and run through June 1, staggered over seven phases. The results will be announced on June 4. However, when the Election Commission announced the schedule this evening, the constituencies added up to 544 instead of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. This, however, doesn’t mean that a new constituency has been added.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar explained that one of the two constituencies in Manipur will vote in two phases, which took the overall Lok Sabha seats tally to 544.

The elections for two Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held in two phases on April 19 and 26. Inner Manipur and some segments of Outer Manipur will vote in Phase 1 on April 19 and in Phase 2 on April 26, the remaining segments of Outer Manipur will vote again. Voting on one seat will be held twice due to displacement in the state that remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic clashes between the two communities first erupted on May 3 last year.

“Many people got displaced. Our workforce, our human resources have also been displaced. So, there are districts where there is a shortage of human resources. We need a certain number of people to conduct elections,” said PK Jha, Manipur’s Chief Electoral Officer.

“Also looking into the security aspect of it, we thought with adequate security personnel, maximum area gets covered as early as possible. In Northeast, it starts raining quite early, so it’s better to get done with the elections as early as possible,” he added.

Inner and Outer Manipur seats are held by the BJP and Naga People’s Front (NPF) respectively. The Outer Manipur seat is reserved for scheduled tribes.

The Election Commission also announced that people living in camps in Manipur will be allowed to vote from their camps in the upcoming elections.

“We will make all arrangements. We have drawn a scheme, which we have notified to allow the voters in the camp to vote from the camp. Like there is a scheme for Jammu and Kashmir migrants, the same way the scheme will implemented in Manipur. Voters will be allowed to vote from the respective camps from the lower constituency to higher and higher to lower,” Mr Kumar said.

“My appeal to the voters is that let us decide through the ballot, peacefully by participating in the elections, we will make the arrangements,” he added.

According to officials, over 25,000 people have been rescued by the security forces while around 50,000 are living in camps following the unrest.

Over 96 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections, of which 49.72 crore were male voters and 47.1 crore were female voters. There are 1.82 crore first-time voters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi predicts the BJP will win 370 seats and its National Democratic Alliance more than 400, aiming for a four-decade high. “We, the BJP-NDA, are fully prepared,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, soon after the Election Commission of India announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections.

The main opposition, the Congress party, had formed a 28-party alliance called INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) to jointly fight the BJP. The bloc suffers with differences over giving up seats to field common candidates.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, polling was held in seven phases.

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