Simultaneous polls not possible, need legal framework : Chief Election Commissioner

OP Rawat

New Delhi , Aug 14 : Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat on Tuesday virtually ruled out holding simultaneous elections, a day after the BJP made a fresh push to hold Lok Sabha and assembly polls together.

Election Commissioner Rawat said,”simultaneous elections are not possible without a legal framework as any extension or curtailment of the term of assemblies will require a constitutional amendment.”

 “But if polls are to be held in installments, like in 11 states at once, possibilities are there if all respective houses agree to dissolve and conduct polls together,” he added.

“Extra polling personnel, security, & VVPATs will also be needed, logistics arrangements with regard to 100 per cent availability of VVPATs (paper trail machines) will be a constraint,” he told reporters to a question on whether simultaneous elections can be held anytime soon.

“On the issue of ‘one nation one poll’, the Election Commission had given inputs and suggestions in 2015 itself… Other requirements of additional police force, polling personnel would also be needed,” he said.

The CEC said the poll panel would continue to deliver its responsibility of conducting elections whenever term of the state assemblies come to an end.

For conducting 2019 Lok Sabha polls, EC  requires new EVMs — 13.95 lakh ballot units and 9.3 lakh control units -and 16.15 lakh VVPATsbefore the end of November.

If simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held in 2019, the EC will require nearly 24 lakh EVMs, double the number required to hold only the Parliamentary polls.

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