The Election Commission has given its approval for conducting the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls simultaneously, but added that all the political parties have to agree with the proposal before such an exercise can be carried out.
“The Election Commission has always been of the view that simultaneous elections will give enough time for incumbent government to formulate policies and implement programmes continuously for a longer time without interruptions caused by imposition of model code of conduct,” Election Commissioner O P Rawat was quoted as saying by PTI.
The constitution mandates that elections are to be held within six months before the end of the term of the Lok Sabha or the state Assembly. And after the legal framework is done it would be easier for EC to seek all the support required to conduct simultaneous polls. “Commission may conduct such elections after six months (after constitutional and legal changes are made),” the Election Commissioner said.
Rawat also revealed that the Election Commission was in 2015 asked to give its view on the synchronised polls. “The Commission gave its views on the matter in March that year. It had suggested few steps that need to be taken before such elections are made feasible,” he said.
He further said it would be logistically possible to hold the elections together if sufficient time is given to the Commission. “We need two set of EVMs – one for Lok Sabha and another for the Assembly polls,” he said, adding that there will be a requirement of 24 lakh each EVMs and VVPAT Machines.
Prime Minister Modi had also brought the issue to light during his address in the assembly while giving a ‘motion of Thanks’ to the outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee. He pointed out that during elections government employees especially teachers are assigned to monitor the election process thus disrupting their work for several weeks. Plus huge company of security forces have to be mobilised both in and around the polling booth to ensure free and fair polls, Modi said.
The assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are due in mid-2019, along with the next general polls.