Ec’s Decision Rules Out Of Clubbing Assembly 2018 With Lok Sabha Elections 2019
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The EC’s decision virtually rules out any possibility of clubbing these polls with the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May next year as was being suggested by some political quarters. The Election Commission has decided to go by the law as well as convention to hold assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram together before mid-December, ahead of expiry of the term of Mizoram assembly.
The BJP’s call for simultaneous polls, outlined in party chief Amit Shah’s letter to the Law Commission, will be more an effort to keep the debate alive and promote the political viability of the proposal.While the Commission is firm on following its mandate under the Constitution as well as convention of clubbing closely-timed state polls in the same round, sources did not rule out holding Maharashtra and Haryana assembly poll, due in November 2019, along with the general election to lok sabha election result and five other state assemblies in April-May 2019. “If the ruling dispensation in Maharashtra and Haryana choose to dissolve the assemblies by January, we will be able to time the polls in these states simultaneously with the General Election 2019,” said a senior EC functionary.
EC has already covered much ground in its preparations for clubbed polls in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, including completion of first reviews at the level of deputy election commissioners as well as discussions with the home ministry brass to finalise deployment of central forces.Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat and election commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa are likely to visit poll-bound states starting the first week of September, to review poll preparedness.
When contacted, Rawat said it is logistically possible to add one or two states to the general election which shall comprise parliamentary as well as assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the normal course — as there was enough EVMs and VVPATs available. “We have reserve EVMs and VVPATs to accomodate a couple of extra state polls in the General Election. For instance, we need 15 lakh VVPATs for Lok Sabha and five state polls due in 2019, whereas we shall have a total 17.4 lakh VVPATs. The additional VVPATs/EVMs can be used for holding assembly polls in states in the event of premature dissolution,” Rawat told TOI.
It might then be possible to hold simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and a maximum 7-8 state assemblies in April-May 2019. However, the new states to be added will have to go for dissolution by January 2019 to give the Commission time to work out the logistics before it announces the General Elections in early March.
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