Election Commission announces dates for Assembly polls in 5 states, model code of conduct comes into effect

Polling dates in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The Election Commission today announced dates for Assembly election for five states – Tamil Nadu (234 seats), Kerala (140 seats), West Bengal (294 seats), Assam (126 seats) and Puducherry (33 seats).

Elections will be held in 824 Assembly constituencies across the country in these states. With 1,000 electors per polling station due to the COVID-19 situation, the number of polling stations this time has increased considerably.

Dates for the elections are as follows:

Assam (126 seats):  Three phase elections:

March 27 (Phase I),

April 2 (Phase II) and

April 6 (Phase III)

Tamil Nadu (234 seats): Single phase election on April 6

West Bengal (294 seats): Eight phase elections:

Phase 1 (30 seats): Date of poll March 27

Phase 2 (30 seats): Date of poll April 1

Phase 3 (31 seats): Date of poll April 6

Phase 4 (44 seats): Date of poll April 10

Phase 5 (45 seats): Date of poll April 17

Phase 6 (43 seats): Date of poll April 22

Phase 7 (36 seats): Date of poll April 26

Phase 8 (35 seats): Date of poll April 29

Kerala (140 seats): all elections in a single phase, on April 6.

Puducherry (30 seats): all elections in a single phase, April 6.

Announcement of election dates by the EC means the model code of conduct coming into effect.

The EC had taken inputs from all stakeholders and created a set of guidelines for safety and security, including several COVID-19 safety measures.

*All poll workers are being considered frontline workers and are being vaccinated.

*Postal ballot as an option for senior citizens aged 80 years and above.

*Online filing of nominations, online submission of deposit money

*Door-to-door campaigns restricted to only five persons, including candidate.

*Special central observers to be sent depending on the sensitivity of the place.

*Sanitizers, soaps, water in polling booths are some of the measures taken by the EC this time.

In West Bengal, the number of polling booths has increased to over 1 lakh this time, an increase of 31.65 per cent. This also means more polling personnel and security personnel will be required this time. West Bengal will have special observer Ajay Naik former, CEO Bihar, and two special police observers in West Bengal – Vivek Dubey and Mrinal Kanti Das. There will also be B Murlikumar retired IRS, also appointed as special observer for West Bengal.

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