While debate is going on in the country on the possibility of simultaneous polls for both Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the Election Commission has came out with its preparedness to conduct polls simultaneously in eight states along with the Lok Sabha elections next year. Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat comments in this regard gaining prominence amid media speculation over 12 states going to poll with the general elections next year.
The major problem for the Elections Commission seems to be to acquire sufficiant number of voter verifiable paper audit trail units. Presently, it has already acquired such units to hold elections in Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh (already in sync with the Parliament) and another three states.
Some reports suggest that President’s is likely to be imposed in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to synchronise their elections with those due in 2019. These speculations had emerged after BJP chief Amit Shah wrote to the Law Commission expressing support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “One nation one election” idea.
According to Election Commission sources they need about 14 lakh VVPAT machines for Lok Sabha elections plus five states, whereas they have ordered 17.4 lakh VVPAT machines. There will be a cushion of 2.4 lakh units, which is enough to cover three large states. For instance, Madhya Pradesh needs 80,000 VVPATs. Any three other states with such requirement can also be catered to in 2019.