The Election Commission of India has said it’s capable of holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls together by September 2018, few months before the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Election Commissioner OP Rawat told reporters in Bhopal that the government had sought a response from the Election Commission on the holding of simultaneous state and national polls.
He said that the EC had told the government that funds would be needed for requisite number of EVMs and VVPATs and had got Rs 3,400 crore and Rs 12,000 crore respectively, reported Indian Express.
Rawat said that the EC had already placed the orders with the two PSUs and the delivery of machines had already begun. According to him, the delivery would be complete by September 2018 thereby allowing the poll body to hold both the Loksabha and assembly polls together.
However, most states, scheduled to to go for polls, would have had their election process completed by September. Gujarat goes to poll in December this year, while the process to elect a new government in Karnataka will be over by May next year. Likewise, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura too would have their election processes complete by that time. Only Mizoram will left with assembly election due in December next year.
Holding parliamentary polls with assembly elections has been on the agenda of Narendra Modi government. However, there has been no political consensus on this subject as most opposition parties have so far opposed the move.
Holding elections in India is a nightmarish exercise for the election commission, which was not able to hold even one assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in a single phase earlier this year. The poll body had to conduct the polls here in seven difference stages spanning over five weeks.
It’s in this context that critics wonder whether the EC will ever be able to pull the combines election process off given its incapability to organise assembly election in one state. Aside from stretching the resources, the combined election process will also give rise to complaints of election malpractices.