Simultaneous polls not possible without amendments in law: Election Commissioner | India News

NEW DELHI: Amidst speculations over the possibility of simultaneous elections taking place in 2019, the Chief Election Commissioner, OP Rawat said that unless the law is amended, India cannot conduct simultaneous polls.

“Simultaneous polls are not possible without amendments in the law. But if polls are to be held in installments, like it is being proposed to conduct in 11 states for now, then it can happen given that all respective houses of those states agree to dissolve & conduct polls together,” said OP Rawat, Chief Election Commissioner.

While Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar and a crucial NDA ally, who seems to be in favor of the case for simultaneous polls, said that it will not be possible to conduct elections simultaneously in 2019.

“This time (in 2019) it will not be possible to conduct Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections together. It cannot be done for now. But it should be considered,” Kumar said.

The speculations started after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah wrote a letter to the Law Commission yesterday making a case for simultaneous polls.
Shah’s letter to the law panel was handed over by a BJP delegation which met the commission’s top brass.

In his letter, Shah noted that holding simultaneous polls was also successfully practised between 1952- 1967 and that the expenditure in 2014 Lok Sabha polls was three times more than what was incurred in 2009 elections which can be curbed by simultaneous polls.

“The Model Code of Conduct was in force in Maharashtra in 307 out of 365 days in 2016 due to assembly and Lok Sabha bypolls and local elections, hampering development works. Simultaneous polls will strengthen the federal structure of the country,” Shah noted.

The law panel which is examining the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls, had earlier sought the views of political parties before finalising its report. A paper by the Law Commission had recently recommended holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in two phases beginning 2019.

Political parties are divided on the issue. Besides NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have supported it while Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK, Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the JD(S) have opposed the proposal.

(With inputs from agency)

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