EC: Simultaneous polls in the nation can be a considerable option

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Lately, there have been a lot of talks regarding holding Lok sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously. Election commissioner Sunil Arora who was recently in Amritsar to hold a meeting in respect with the audit of preparations for 2019 Lok Sabha elections said that conducting simultaneous decision should be considered but not for the upcoming General elections.

Mr. Arora was accompanied by Director, Election Commission, Nikhil Kumar and Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, S Karuna Raju along with the election and returning officers of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Tarntaran, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Pathankot districts.

Mr Arora who addressed the media after the meeting said, “ As the upcoming elections are to be held in short time, the demand for silultaneous polls can be considered on a long term basis”. He also said that there should be some necessary changes in the People’s representations Act, 1951.

However, a month ago, the chief election commissioner had said that Election commission is ready for simultaneous polls this year if the Lok Sabha elections are preponed to be conducted by the end of this year along with the other poll bound states.

The Bhartiya Janta Party has strongly backed this theory and was all for ‘one nation, one poll’. Even the President, Ramnath Kovind supported this theory. The BJP had said that the nation can’t always be in poll mode and that it was an effective measure necessary curb the expenditure on the whole election process.

But the Congress party does not seem to support this idea. The opposition parties such as CPI, NCP and others claim it to be an undemocratic process. Some political commentators also believe that such a practice is backed by BJP only to avoid anti-incumbency and maximize Modi’s appeal among the people.

Looking at the technicalities of conducting simultaneous polls, the process is exhaustive. At first there needs to be some constitutional amendments for which all parties should be in consensus.  The whole orchestration of election at one point will be difficult as there will be a financial burden and also deployment of forces at polling booths at once will be inconvenient. As of now, the process is unlikely to be undertaken in the near future.

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