Simultaneous polls for LS and Assemblies possible in 2018: EC

RSTV Bureau

Election Commissioner OP Rawat said that election commission of India will be able to hold simultaneous elections of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

File photo of Election Commissioner OP Rawat

File photo of Election Commissioner OP Rawat

OP Rawat said that manufacturers have committed to supply the required number of EVMs & VVPATs by the end of September 2018 and EC we will be in a readiness to logistically conduct simultaneous polls after receiving them.

“Simultaneous elections to Assemblies and Parliament are not possible at this point in time as there is no such provision in the Representation of Peoples Act. But we will require 40, 00,000 voting machines with VVPAT facilities to hold simultaneous elections,” he said.

Rawat also said that Election commission is well placed logistically to hold elections at the same time as it has prepared all logistical requirements.

File photo: Election officials inspecting electronic voting machines ahead of voting.

File photo: Election officials inspecting electronic voting machines ahead of voting.

The government had asked Election Commission about the amount of time that would be required to simultaneously conduct Lok Saha and Rajya Sabha polls, for which EC sought additional EVMs and VVPATs.

Union Cabinet had cleared the Election Commission’s proposal of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in April. For Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Cabinet has so far cleared Rs 3,173 crore for the Election Commission to buy new voting machines.

Since June, 2014, the Commission has given at least 11 reminders to the government seeking funds for VVPAT machines.

Last year, former Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi drawing his attention to the funds needed for the machines.

The Supreme Court has also asked the Commission to give a tentative timeframe by which it can use VVPAT machines in all polling stations.