"No Chance At All," Says Top Election Officer On Simultaneous Polls

The government contends that holding Lok Sabha polls and assembly elections simultaneously will cut down on the cost of elections in terms of both time and money.

'No Chance At All,' Says Top Election Officer On Simultaneous Polls

Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May next year (File)

Highlights

  • OP Rawat said no possibility of simultaneous poll without legal framework
  • Amit Shah has written to Law Commission in favour of simultaneous polls
  • Government contends that simultaneous polls will cut down the cost
New Delhi:

The Election Commission has ruled out the possibility of holding simultaneous elections to the state assemblies along with the Lok Sabha polls.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said on Thursday that there is no chance at all of holding simultaneous elections without a "legal framework" in place. "Koi chance nahi," Mr Rawat was quoted by news agency PTI as saying when asked about simultaneous polls.

Earlier this month, BJP chief Amit Shah wrote to the Law Commission expressing support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "One nation one election" idea. In his eight-page letter, the BJP chief said the opposition to simultaneous elections seems to be politically motivated.

"The lawmakers will take at least a year to frame a law that can be enforceable. This process takes time. As soon as the Bill to amend the Constitution is ready, we (the Election Commission) will know that things are now moving," Mr Rawat said.

He added that the Election Commission commences preparations for the Lok Sabha elections 14 months before the scheduled time frame of polling. "The Commission has a staff strength of just 400 but deploys 1.11 crore people on poll duty during elections."

While, the Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May next year, assembly polls to Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram are scheduled to be held later this year.

The government contends that holding polls at the national and state levels will cut down on the cost of elections in terms of both time and money. A paper by the Law Commission recently recommended holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in two phases beginning 2019.

Most opposition parties have scoffed at the idea despite the government's many attempts to bring them on board. The Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP, DMK, Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the JDS have consistently opposed the proposal, questioning its feasibility and arguing that it would be against federal principles.

The Congress has also dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dissolve the Lok Sabha early and announce general elections along with polls in four states this year. BJP ally Nitish Kumar has said that the concept of one nation one poll is right, but it is not feasible now.

(With inputs from PTI)