Delhi poll official`s internal note creates flutter about 2024 LS election date

An internal note circulated by the office of Delhi`s Chief Electoral Officer having April 16 as the tentative “poll date” to help officials schedule various activities “in the build up” to the Lok Sabha elections created a flutter among journalists about the possible schedule of the upcoming polls.

Responding to queries, the Chief Electoral Officer`s office clarified that the date was mentioned only for “reference” for officials to plan activities in accordance with the Election Planner issued by the poll panel.

“Some media queries are coming referring to a circular by @CeodelhiOffice to clarify whether April 16 is tentative poll day for Lok Sabha elections. It is clarified that this date was mentioned only for `reference` for officials to plan activities as per Election Planner of ECI,” the CEO office posted on X.

In a communication issued to all the 11 district election officers on January 19, the CEO`s office had referred to the Election Planner issued by the ECI in which various activities in the build up to the election has been given along with the timelines and durations for each activity to start and to be completed.

“For the ensuing General Election to the Lok Sabha 2024, the Commission has tentatively given the Poll Day as 16.04.2024 for the purpose of reference and to calculate start and end dates in the Election Planner,” the circular read.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the office of the Delhi CEO clarified that in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, “it is required to plan and complete a large number of activities pertaining to election”. “ECI Planner enlists all such important activities and provides Start date and End date with reference to an imaginary poll date as reference point to initiate and complete those activities,” it said.

Therefore, the date mentioned as tentative poll date in the letter was “only for reference purpose” for the election officials and “has no bearing on the actual schedule of election” which shall be announced by ECI at an appropriate time, the statement said.

One of the activities started by the EC recently is awareness campaign about electronic voting machines.

According to EC`s standing instructions, state Chief Electoral Officers need to start a focussed awareness campaign approximately three months prior to the announcement of election — for this purpose the date of announcement of the last election may be considered.

In 2019, Lok Sabha polls were announced on March 10 and were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. Votes were counted on May 23.

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