The Election Commission is mulling a proposal to increase the polling hours during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in light of a jump in the cumulative number of voters in the country and the trend of bigger turnout at recent elections. While the polling duration currently is of nine hours, EC is seeking an increase in the same by an hour.
According to highly placed sources, EC is working on an increased polling time schedule and is likely to decide on the matter in a day or so.
The full commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath and Election Commissioners HS Brahma and Nasim Zaidi on Monday discussed the issue with top poll officials and are learnt to have given the go-ahead to the proposal.
The EC feels that since the elections will be held in summer, more electors will turn up to vote towards the evening when the weather cools. That would likely lead to long queues at polling stations as voting draws to a close.
The proposal to increase polling hours comes in the wake of increased voter turnout in the recent assembly polls across the country during which long queues were witnessed at polling stations till late in the evening.
Polling is generally held from 8 am to 5 pm, while it starts at 7 am in the northeastern and hill states.
A total of 81.4 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which begin April 7 and end on May 12.
Counting will be held on May 16.
Of these voters, a total of about 10 crore are those whose names have been newly added on electoral rolls. The last Lok Sabha polls had a grand total of 71.3 crore electors who were eligible to vote.
Image: Polling starts at 8 am in most states