Virtually ruling out holding simultaneous polls in the near future, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat Tuesday said the parallel polls are not possible without a legal framework and insisted that any extension or curtailment of the term of assemblies will require a constitutional amendment.
“If the term of some state assemblies needs to be curtailed or extended, then a constitutional amendment will be required… Logistics arrangements with regard to 100 percent availability of VVPATs (paper trail machines) will be a constraint,” Rawat 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.
Rawat’s remarks came a day after the BJP made a strong pitch for simultaneous polls, with party chief Amit Shah arguing that one election would check expenditure and ensure that the nation is not in “election mode” throughout the year. In his eight-page letter to Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chouhan, Shah said holding simultaneous polls is not only a concept but a principle that has been successfully tried in the past and can be implemented.
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.
The EC is in the process of procuring new EVMs and VVPATs ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While all required EVMs — 13.95 lakh ballot units and 9.3 lakh control units — will be delivered by September 30, 16.15 lakh VVPATs will also be delivered well before the end of November, Rawat had earlier said.
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.
With PTI inputs
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