Holding simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies will require Constitutional amendment and additional resources, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Tuesday said. The CEC said the Commission’s view has already been conveyed to the Law Ministry as well as a parliamentary panel that such a proposal requires amendments in the Constitution through a process of “political consensus”.
WATCH WHAT ELSE IS IN THE NEWS
“The Commission, with certain additional resources, can undertake the exercise of (holding) simultaneous elections in future. But there are two pre-conditions. “One, there should be an amendment in the Constitution through a process of political consensus and we will need some additional resources in terms of electronic voting machines, etc,” Zaidi said.
He was speaking at the sidelines of a seminar on “Strategies for Empowering Young and Future Voters” organised by the Election Commission of India on the eve of 7th National Voters Day.
Last year, the Election Commission supported the government’s idea to hold simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies but made it clear that it will cost a lot and the Constitution will have to amended to curtail or extend the term of certain state assemblies.
The Law Ministry had asked the Commission to give its views on the report of a parliamentary standing committee which had batted for simultaneous polls.
In its reply to the Law Ministry in May, the Commission had said it supports the proposal but cost involved will be over Rs 9,000 crore.
The Commission had expressed similar “difficulties” before a parliamentary panel which gave its report on ‘Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies’ in December.
During the seminar, MoUs with election commissions of Australia, Bosnia–Herzegovina, Fiji and Nepal were also signed.
Zaidi said, the conference’s focus is first-time voters, who have turned 18, and prospective voters, who fall in 15-17 years of age group.
“These two segments should be made a part of the electoral democracy,” the CEC said, adding that there are 62 million people in the category of 15-17 years of age group.
He said the poll panel was focusing to inculcate in these two segments, the practice of citizenship development and electoral participation.
“All election bodies present here are interacting on what kind of strategies to engage first time and future voters,” he said.