National Polls On April 16? After Viral Note To Officers, A Clarification

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National Polls On April 16? After Viral Note To Officers, A Clarification

PM Modi and the Congress-led INDIA bloc will go head-to-head in the 2024 Lok Sabha election (File).

New Delhi:

Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer on Monday squashed buzz the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be held on April 16. Talk of a date for the poll – in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP are all but set to win a third straight term – broke after a letter from the CEO’s office emerged on social media.

The notification said the Election Commission of India had “tentatively given the Poll Day as April 16, 2024… for the purpose of reference and to calculate Start and End dates in the Election Planner”.

The notification was issued to all 11 District Election Officers in Delhi, and is titled “Compliance/adhering to timelines given in Election Planner of Election Commission of India”.

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The Delhi Chief Electoral Officer said the April 16 date was for “reference only”.

Shortly afterwards the Delhi CEO’s office posted on X, stressing the date was “reference only”.

“Some media queries are coming referring to a circular by Delhi Chief Electoral Officer’s Office to clarify whether April 16, 2024 is tentative poll day for 2024 Lok Sabha elections.”

“It is clarified this date was mentioned only for ‘reference’ (and) for officials to plan activities as per Election Planner of Election Commission of India,” the note on X (formerly Twitter) said.

A follow-up post by the Delhi CEO’s office also tagged the Election Commission of India, which reposted the clarification. And sources have told NDTV the process of setting a “reference only” date is standard practice while planning for one of the world’s most complicated electoral exercises.

While the actual date has yet to be confirmed, it is most likely that India will vote for a new government sometime in April in a phased manner over several phases and continue till in May. The 2019 election was held over seven phases, starting April 11 and ending May 19, with results declared May 23.

Mr Modi’s BJP recorded a landslide win to claim a second consecutive five-year term, and is widely expected to better the 303 seats it won five years ago. The opposition Congress was decimated for a second time, winning just 52 seats. This time around the party will hope for a better showing, particularly as it leads a pan-India bloc of over two dozen non-BJP outfits calling itself INDIA.

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