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All political parties need to be on board for simultaneous polls: EC

Rawat said it would be logistically possible to hold the elections together

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Why assembly by-polls in Andhra's Nandyal, Delhi's Bawana are important

Favouring simultaneous and assembly polls, the Commission on Sunday said all political parties need to be brought on board before such an exercise is carried out.

"The Commission has always been of the view that will give enough time for incumbent to formulate policies and implement programmes continuously for a longer time without interruptions caused by imposition of model code of conduct," Commissioner O P told PTI here.

He said conducting the polls together would be possible only when necessary changes in the Constitution and Representation of the People Act are carried out.

Existing legal and constitutional provisions mandates that elections are to be held within six months ahead of the end of the term of a or the

said after the constitutional and legal framework are in place, it would be feasible to seek all the logistical support and conduct

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

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

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

said the Commission was in 2015 asked to give its view on the synchronised polls.

"The Commission gave its views on the matter in March that year. It had suggested few steps that need to be taken before such elections are made feasible," he said.

said it would be logistically possible to hold the elections together if sufficient time is given to the Commission.

There will be requirement of 24 lakh each Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Machines.

"We need two set of EVMs - one for and another for the Assembly polls," he said.

said orders have already been placed for more number of EVMs and VVPAT machines and new inventory ha started coming in.

"The Commission would be able to get the required number of EVMs and VVPAT machines by mid 2019 or before if need be," he said.

Rawat's assertion assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already pitched for simultaneous and assembly polls.

The government's policy think tank Niti Aayog has also favoured conducting synchronised two-phase and assembly elections from 2024 in "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.

Modi had in February said would "cause some loss to all, including us" but political parties should not look at the idea through the narrow prism of politics.

"One party or a cannot do it. We will have to find a way together," the PM had said.

Elections are held all the time and continuous polls lead to a lot of expenditure, he had said replying to the debate in the on the Motion of Thanks to the former President Pranab Mukherjee's address.

Modi had said that more than Rs 1,100 crore was spent on the 2009 polls and the expenditure had shot up to Rs 4,000 crore in 2014.

Over a crore employees, including a large number of teachers, are involved in the electoral process. Thus, the continuous exercise causes maximum harm to the education sector, he had said.

Security forces also have to be diverted for the electoral work even as the country's enemy keeps plotting against the nation and terrorism remains a strong threat, Modi had said.

First Published: Sun, October 08 2017. 15:23 IST