The Lok Sabha polls will be held between mid-April and early May in five or six phases and will involve about 800 million voters, highly-placed sources in the Election Commission said on Sunday.
Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will also go polls for their state assemblies along with the Lok Sabha elections. "The announcement of the poll schedule would be done in the last days of February or at best the first two-three days of March," the sources told PTI.
During the 2009 polls, there were 714 million voters against 671 million voters in 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Before the announcement for polls, the Lok Sabha may meet for one last time to pass a vote-on-account budget to enable expenditure for six months of the new fiscal year 2014-15 to give time for the new Government to present a full-fledged budget in the next Parliament.
There is also speculation that a special session of Parliament may be convened shortly to pass anti-corruption measures by the government in the run up to the elections. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31. The Commission is looking into the issue of whether to spread the elections over five phases or may be one more phase.
"We already have a list of electoral rolls. We need to update it. We expect that before January end, the lists will be ready," a top EC official said. A total of 1.1 crore poll personnel, half of them being security forces will be deployed for the smooth conduct of polls and to ensure that they are free and fair.
Other work in the run-up to the announcement of the poll schedule is in full swing. Dates are being considered for a meeting with the Union Home Secretary for finalising deployment plans of central para-military forces before announcement of the poll schedule.
Chief Electoral Officers of various states are also holding separate meetings with DGPs of states for availability of state police forces for polls.
The EC is also working on finalising the polling stations for elections. At least 8 lakh polling stations are to be set up for polling across the country.
The poll body is working out last-minute changes in polling stations for the convenience of both voters and poll staff.
Preparations for deployment of around 12 lakh electronic voting machines are also being made and the Commission