The Election Commission of India, on Sunday, announced a seven phase poll schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, 2019. West Bengal will vote in the general elections in seven phases
Two constituencies — Coochbehar and Alipurduar — will go to polls in phase 1 on April 11.
Three constituencies — Jalpaigudi, Darjeeling and Raigunge — will go to polls in phase 2 on April 18.
Four constituencies — Balurghat, Malda Uttar, Malda Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad — will go to polls in phase 3 on April 23.
Eight constituencies — Behrampore, Krishnanagar, Bolpur, Birbhum, Ranaghat, Burwan Durgapur, Burdwan Purba and Birbhum — will go to polls in phase 4 on April 29.
Seven Constituencies —Bongaon, Barackpur Howrah, Uluberia, Hoogly, Srirampore, Hoogly and Arambag — will go to polls in phase 5 on May 6.
Eight constituencies — Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Purulia, Bakuda, Jhargram, Medinipur and Bishnupur – will go to polls in phase 6 on May 12.
Nine constituencies — Dumdum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kol Dakshin and Kol Uttar — will go to polls in phase 7 on May 19.
The Election Commission announced that the general elections will be held in seven phases across India and the final counting of votes will take place on May 23.
In 2014, the EC had announced the election schedule on March 5 and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May. While the first phase polling was on April 7, the last phase was on May 12.
Opposition parties had been questioning the delay in announcing the poll dates, with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel asking the EC whether it was waiting for the Prime Minister's "official" travel programme "to conclude".
PM Narendra Modi has been making a quick dash to states, conducting election rallies as well as government functions ahead of the announcement. He inaugurated projects worth Rs. 59,000 crore this week across three states —Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Several other key ministers of the BJP were also busy with a string of inaugurations.
With the model code of conduct — a set of guidelines issued by the EC for the conduct of political parties and candidates when the electoral process is underway — coming into force, parties in power at the Centre and in states are barred from making any announcements that can impact poll outcome or disturb the level playing field.
As per new rules introduced by the Election Commission, candidates will have to give details of their properties abroad, besides those in the country in their poll affidavits. "The I-T department will look into it and, if any, discrepancies are found then it will be uploaded on the Election Commission (EC) website and strict action will be initiated," CEC Sunil Arora said.
When asked about the EC's stand on inflammatory speeches, Arora said in his review meetings, he tried to find out the status of such cases lodged during previous elections. In all the 1,63,331 polling centres, VVPAT machines will be used this time, he said.
List of Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal
1. Cooch Behar
7. Maldaha Uttar
8. Maldaha Dakshin
16. Dum Dum
21. Diamond Harbour
23. Kolkata Dakshin
24. Kolkata Uttar
38. Bardhaman Purba
39. Bardhaman Durgapur