Lok Sabha Polls: Election Commission Team to visit Odisha and Bihar This Month; Bengal Likely Next – News18


The team will be headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. (PTI/File)

According to sources, the team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, will be in Odisha on February 16-17 and in Bihar on February 20-21. The team may also visit West Bengal next month though the dates are yet to be finalised

Continuing the preparations for Lok Sabha elections 2024 and simultaneous Assembly polls in a few states, a team of officials from the Election Commission of India (ECI) will undertake back-to-back visits to states in the coming days.

According to sources, the team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar and comprising election commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel, will be in Odisha on Friday and Saturday (February 16-17). They will be in Bihar next week on Tuesday and Wednesday (February 20-21). The team may also visit West Bengal next month though the dates are yet to be finalised.

Andhra Pradesh was the first state where the team visited in January. They may also visit a few more states; however, the schedule is not yet finalised.

In June, the terms of the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be ending. These four states will witness simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly.

In 2019, the Lok Sabha elections were announced on March 10. Polling was done in seven phases between April 11 and May 19 while the counting of votes took place on May 23.

Groundwork Underway

The poll body has already started the groundwork for the Lok Sabha polls. The initial step of conducting any election in India is First Level Check, which that includes cleaning and maintenance of machines, and mock polls.

The cleaning of machines includes the removal of address tags, ballot papers, any superscriptions and earlier poll data from the Ballot Unit (BU), Control Unit (CU) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). According to the EC, the First Level Check is done around four months before the Assembly elections and six months before the Lok Sabha elections.

In January, the poll body had organised a conference of Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of states and Union Territories for sharing of experiences and transfer of knowledge.

The poll body also held a brainstorming session with officials and state chief election officers (CEOs) at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie and five regional conferences were also held at Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow over the past few weeks.

Over 800 District Election Officer and Returning Officers across the country were trained on various thematic areas related to election management at India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM), New Delhi.

“As many as 3,100 Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) from all states/UTs participated in an online training. An orientation program for newly appointed CEOs and other officials in CEO offices was organised at IIIDEM,” the poll body had said last month.

The total electorate strength of India has reached 96.88 crore, the largest in the world. When compared to 2019, there has been an 8% increase in eligible voters in 2024. The number of male voters have increased by around 7%, female voters have gone up by around 9% between 2019 and 2024, EC data shows.

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