Simultaneous Polls Doable But Not This Year, Says Chief Election Commissioner

New Delhi: As the debate over ‘one nation, one poll’ continues, the Election Commission says that it will be capable of holding simultaneous elections within “a few months” of legal changes made to existing framework.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat has, however, ruled out early Lok Sabha polls in December this year with four other states citing paucity of time in getting “first level checks” in the VVPAT machines to be used in all future polls.

“Machines have to be supplied till September end. It would not be possible to get first level check in such a short time,” Rawat told News18 in an exclusive interview.

Elections to four state assemblies, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Chattisgarh will vote to elect a new government later this year for which VVPATS are to be deployed. The ECE, however, made it clear that the commission would be prepared to hold five state assembly elections with Lok Sabha polls slated for May 2019.

"Once the necessary changes are made in the Representation of People’s Act, not much time is required to hold simultaneous elections. We will then need to make arrangements for adequate EVM’s and Central Paramilitary Forces for the purpose," Rawat added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on numerous occasions underscored the need to hold simultaneous polls in the country to cut down on repeated election expenditure. The issue also found mention in President Ramnath Kovind’s address to the joint session of parliament earlier this year.

This month the Law commission of India has also deliberated on the issue in its last meeting in Delhi.


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