The Election Commission of India (ECI) is likely to announce the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019 in the first week of March, according to sources. The 17th Lok Sabha elections for 543 are scheduled to be held between the months of April and May this year. According to sources, the elections would be held in 6 to 7 phases. The previous Lok Sabha Elections were held in nine phases between April 7 and May 12 in 2014. The results of the general elections were declared on May 16 in which the BJP-led NDA stormed to power. The BJP had achieved a clear majority by winning 282 seats.
Unlike earlier expectations, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are not likely to be a cakewalk for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ruling BJP-led by Modi is expected to face a stiff challenge from the resurgent Congress under the leadership of its president Rahul Gandhi.
In the recently held Assembly elections, PM Modi's BJP had to face major drubbings in three Hindi heartland states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - at the hands of the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress. While in 2014, Narendra Modi's popularity was at its peak and this helped the BJP immensely to cross the majority mark. However, with several factors such as anti-incumbency and unhappy alliance partners may dent the BJP's hopes of retaining the power.
Also, issues like unemployment, agrarian crisis, delay in the construction of Ram Temple and Rafale controversy may also hamper the saffron party's prospects in 2019.
Besides the Lok Sabha elections, the Assembly elections are also due in Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh during this time. Another state Jammu and Kashmir, currently under the President's Rule following the fall of BJP-PDP government, can also go for fresh polls in 2019.