Poll panel virtually rules out simultaneous elections

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New Delhi : In the midst of the BJP's push for "One Nation, One Poll", the Election Commission on Tuesday appeared to rule out simultaneous polls to assemblies and the Lok Sabha given the present logistics and constitutional provisions.

Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said, however, the commission would continue to deliver its responsibility of conducting polls whenever the term of a state assembly comes to an end.

"On the issue of One Nation, One Poll, the commission had given inputs and suggestions in 2015 itself. Logistics arrangements with reference to 100 per cent availability of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) will be a constraint," Rawat told the media.

He also said if the term of some state assembly needed to be curtailed or extended then a constitutional amendment would be required. Other requirements of additional police force and polling personnel was also needed.

"The commission will continue to deliver its responsibility of conducting elections whenever the term of state assembly comes to an end," Rawat said.

The Chief Election Commissioner's remarks come amidst the push by the BJP for simultaneous parliament and assembly elections over which the party President, Amit Shah, wrote a letter to the Law Commission on Monday.

There was speculation that the ruling party could aim at limited simultaneous polls by either advancing the Lok Sabha polls along with assembly polls in states like Maharashtra and combine them with elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh later this year.

Or in the alternative, the year-end polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram could be postponed till the Lok Sabha polls next year.