India has announced the dates for a national election that will see close to 900 million voters cast their ballots in nearly a million polling booths - the world's biggest ever democratic exercise.
In a press conference in the capital New Delhi on Sunday, the country's chief election commissioner, Sunil Arora, unveiled the timeline for India's mammoth seven-phase election to be held on April 11, 18, 23, 29 and May 6, 12 and 19.
The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
Although admired for its ability to conduct the polls with few hitches, India's election commission had come under pressure from opposition parties for the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
To allay fears of poll fraud, Arora said the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system will be used in all the polling booths during the election.
VVPAT is a device that is attached to an EVM and prints a small slip of paper carrying the symbol, name and serial number of the candidate voted for. This is visible to the voter for a short period and can be later used by the ECI to verify the votes.