Capable of holding Lok Sabha polls, 4 state assembly elections together in Dec: CEC OP Rawat

New Delhi: The Election Commission is capable of holding Lok Sabha elections and polls to four state assemblies together in December if the parliamentary elections are advanced, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said on Wednesday.

His comments came when asked whether the EC was ready if the LS elections are held in December along with Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Rajasthan. “Why not. There would not be any problem,” he told PTI. There has been speculation in some circles that the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for April-May 2019, may be advanced to November-December 2018, so that they can be held simultaneously with Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.

While the term of the Mizoram Assembly will end on December 15, the terms of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pra-desh and Rajasthan assemblies would end on January 5, 2019, January 7 and January 20, 2019, respectively. Asked whether the required electronic voting machines (EVMs) and paper trail machines would be ready if the LS polls are held in December along with those of four assemblies, the CEC said while all the required EVMs would be in place by September end, paper trail machines would come in November end.

Rawat said there have been delays in the delivery of paper trail machines as the Technical Experts Committee appointed by it analyses the technology stabilisation issues in the initial batches and incorporates essential design improvements. “This ensures we don’t face the problems later,” he said. While all required EVMs — 13.95 lakh ballot units and 9.3 lakh control units — will be delivered by September 30, 17.15 lakh VVPATs will also be delivered well before the end of November, he added. Over 11 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT machines across 10 states had developed faults and had to be replaced during the May 28 by-polls.

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