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  India   Politics  09 Oct 2017  Joint polls only after all parties agree, says Election Commission

Joint polls only after all parties agree, says Election Commission

Published : Oct 9, 2017, 1:30 am IST
Updated : Oct 9, 2017, 1:30 am IST

Rawat’s assertion assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are due in mid-2019, along with the next general polls.
 Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are due in mid-2019, along with the next general polls.

New Delhi: Favouring simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the Election Commission on Sunday said all political parties need to be brought on board before such an exercise is carried out.

“The EC 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 said.

 

He said bringing all political parties on board is an imperative for holding the simultaneous polls.

Mr Rawat’s assertion assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Conducting the two polls together will be possible only when necessary changes in the Constitution and Representation of the People Act are carried out, Mr Rawat said.

It will be feasible to seek logistical support and conduct simultaneous elections only after the constitutional and legal framework are in place, he said.

“Commission may conduct such elections after six months (after constitutional and legal changes are made),” the Election Commissioner said.

 

Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are due in mid-2019, along with the next general polls.

Mr Rawat said holding simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls will require 24 lakh each Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Machines.

“We need two set of EVMs - one for Lok Sabha and another for the Assembly polls,” he said.

Orders have already been placed for more number of EVMs and VVPAT machines and new inventory has started coming in.

The government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog has also favoured conducting simultaneous two-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly elections from 2024 in “national interest”.

 

All elections in India should happen in a free, fair and synchronised manner to ensure minimum “campaign mode” disruption to governance, the Niti Aayog had said in its “Three Year Action Agenda, 2017-18 to 2019-20” report, released recently.

Tags: election commission, narendra modi, op rawat