The CEC’s remark comes at a time when Modi government is pushing for the idea of ‘one nation, one election’.
New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat has said the idea of ‘one nation, one election’ is not feasible without the requisite legal framework, a remark that calls for a reality check at a time when the Modi government has been pushing for simultaneous polls in the country.
He also highlighted logistic issues with respect to the number of EVM-VVPAT, the requirement of central armed police force and polling personnel, among others, which could pose a challenge.
Rawat’s comment assumes significance given that the Law Commission has recently backed the idea of simultaneous elections and sought views of all stakeholders, including the various political parties.
According to Rawat, both legal and logistical hurdles have to be overcome before simultaneous elections can be made a reality. He has, however, maintained that once the legal framework is in the place, it will only take the Election Commission a few months to make simultaneous polls a reality.
“The election commission sent its recommendations that amendments would be required in the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act,” he said in an interview to News18.
“After these amendments are done, then there are logistic issues with respect to the number of EVM-VVPAT, the requirement of central armed police force and polling personnel,” the CEC added.
Rawat ruled out the possibility of holding Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, at the end of this year.
It would not be possible to run a first-level check on the all the EVMs ordered, which will be delivered by September end, at such short notice, he maintained.
The Election Commission is, however, prepared to hold five state assembly elections, along with the Lok Sabha elections, in 2019.
As ThePrint had reported, the official indication of the Modi government’s interest in simultaneous polls came when the law ministry asked the election commission to examine the feasibility of holding two-phase, simultaneous elections, earlier this month.
According to this proposal prepared by NITI Aayog, in the first phase, 14 states would simultaneously hold Lok Sabha and assembly elections in 2019. In the second phase, polls will be held in October-November 2021. Once all the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections get synchronised, elections will be held every 2.5 years in the country.
The BJP government has been a strong proponent of the idea, emphasising that it will reduce the burden on the exchequer and enable smooth governance. Critics on the other have questioned the technical and operational feasibility of this move.