A screenshot of a circular from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi is being widely circulated on social media, claiming that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has officially announced the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, setting the polling date for April 16. 2024. However, the CEO of Delhi has clarified that the said date was mentioned for reference purposes only, serving as a notice for officials to plan activities as per the Election Planner of ECI.
What did the circular mention?
While the circular shared in the name of the CEO of Delhi is true, the date mentioned for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is only a tentative one. The letter was sent by the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer T. Misao to district election officers of all 11 districts of Delhi.
"I am directed to draw your attention to the Election Planner issued by the Election Commission of India in which various activities in the build up to the election has been given along with the timelines/duration 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," stated the circular.
The circular further requests the election officers to adhere to the given timelines for initiating and completing each activity mentioned in the Election Planner.
Clarification from the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi
Following the release of the circular, there were claims stating that the ECI had officially disclosed the dates for the general election, leading to confusion among the public.
Therefore, in a clarification statement, the official account of the CEO, Delhi Office on X (formerly Twitter), said that the "date was mentioned only for ‘reference’ for officials to plan activities as per Election Planner of ECI".
Some media queries are coming referring to a circular by @CeodelhiOffice to clarify whether 16.04.2024 is tentative poll day for #LSElections2024— CEO, Delhi Office (@CeodelhiOffice) January 23, 2024
It is clarified that this date was mentioned only for ‘reference’for officials to plan activities as per Election Planner of ECI.
Further, in a press note clarification by the CEO, Delhi, it was stated that it is required to plan and complete a large number of activities pertaining to the election. Hence, the ECI Planner enlists those important activities and provides the start and end date with reference to an 'imaginary poll date' as a reference point to initiate and finish those tasks.
BOOM found that even in both previous elections held in 2014 and 2019, the election dates were consistently set between the months of April and May. In 2014, the Lok Sabha elections were held between April 7 and May 12. Whereas, in 2019, the polls were held in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19.