Full schedule: 2014 Lok Sabha elections

Voting for the 2014 general election will begin on April 7, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — will be eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.

Voting will be held in nine stages, which will be staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16. Elections to state assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously.

Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party has emerged as the favourite in opinion polls, which reflect waning support for Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party that wrested power from the BJP in 2004.

Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, will also be challenged by a clutch of regional parties that are vying for power as part of a “third front” opposed to both the Congress and the BJP.

Also in the race is Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which made a stunning debut in Delhi elections last year and is now eyeing a national presence on the anti-corruption plank.

Here’s a look at the election schedule, and the states and union territories going to polls:

April 7 (six constituencies) – Assam, Tripura

April 9 (seven constituencies) – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland

April 10 (92 constituencies) – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Delhi

April 12 (five constituencies) – Assam, Sikkim, Tripura

April 17 (122 constituencies) – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

April 24 (117 constituencies) – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Puducherry

April 30 (89 constituencies) – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu

May 7 (64 constituencies) – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal

May 12 (41 constituencies) – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

MORE ON THE ELECTION

The new Lok Sabha is expected to be constituted by June 1 with 543 lawmakers chosen from across India. Of these, 131 seats are reserved for candidates from the country’s scheduled castes and tribes.

Two other lawmakers can be appointed to the Lok Sabha by the president to ensure the representation of India’s tiny Anglo-Indian community, taking the total number of lawmakers to 545.

A political party needs to secure at least 272 seats to form the government.

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