India's Election Commission (EC) has a stellar reputation for impartially running the world's biggest democratic exercise. For this year's general election, it has to oversee a process involving 900 million eligible voters, one million polling booths, over 11 million election officials and 2.3 million electronic voting machines. In addition, around 2,000 political parties were in the election fray.
But on one count, the EC has come under increasing scrutiny: The duration of the elections, which this year stretched to seven phases over six weeks. The polling began on April 11 and ends on May 19, with the results being announced on May 23. The last general election was not much shorter in duration.