Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Friday announced the polling dates for the assembly elections due in four states and one Union Territory this year. Elections will be held in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The Assam elections will be held in two phases on April 4 and April 11. In West Bengal, there are as many as six phases, with polling scheduled for April 4 and April 11 (first phase), April 17 (second phase), April 21 (third phase), April 25 (fourth phase), Apri 30 (fifth phase) and May 5 (sixth phase). Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will all have single-phase polling on May 16. The counting of votes for all states will be held on May 19 and the election process will be completed on May 21.

Zaidi said the model code of conduct comes into existence with immediate effect in the poll-bound constituencies. Around 17 crore people are eligible to cast their votes in the upcoming assembly elections, across 824 constituencies.

Some of the other announcements made by Zaidi are:

  • There will now be a symbol for NOTA, or None of the Above.
  • Photographs of all candidates will be present on the electronic voting machines to eliminate any confusion.
  • All-women polling stations will be set up, where all presiding officers and security persons will also be women.
  • Special polling booths will be set up for people with leprosy and the visually challenged. There will also be ramps for the disabled at all stations.