Not all, at most, 8 states can vote along with General Elections: EC

After BJP stirred controversy over conducting simultaneous polls across the nation , the Election Commission made it clear that it is not possible unless the constitution as amended and with the equipments available with the EC only Lok Sabh polls .

The BJP party’s debate of conducting polls in 12 states simultaneously with general elections next year was negated by Chief Election Commissioner’s statement over the speculations over conducting simultaneous polls across all the states.

According to CEC Rawat, EC will have just enough voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units to hold polls simultaneously in Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh (whose Assembly terms are already in sync with the Parliament) and another three states, at the most and not more than that.

“We need about 14 lakh (VVPAT) machines for Lok Sabha (elections) plus five states, whereas we have ordered 17.4 lakh (VVPAT) machines. There will be a cushion of 2.4 lakh units, which is enough to cover three large states. For instance, Madhya Pradesh needs 80,000 VVPATs. Any (three) other state(s) with such requirement can (also) be catered to (in 2019),” the CEC had told earliuer in an interview with the Indian Express.

He also said: “The (Election) Commission has already moved ahead and is reviewing the preparedness for polling in four states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. And most likely these elections will be delivered before December 15. It’s quite hypothetical to think that these (four elections) are getting postponed.”

“As for Lok Sabha polls and states going to elections with it, five states have to go to polls with (Lok Sabha) — Orissa, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. In case (another) one or two states decide or choose to dissolve their assemblies prematurely to sync their elections with Lok Sabha, our cushion (VVPAT reserve) will be able to cater to it,” he added.

When Rawat was asked if Presidential rule can be applied in these states to sync them with those states whose elections are due in 2019, he said: “We don’t visualise such a situation because President’s rule can’t be applied like this.”

What exactly is the President’s rule? The President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution, can only be imposed under certain mandatory conditions only which include the collapse of a coalition government, the incumbent government losing majority in the state Assembly, the inability of the legislature to elect a leader as the Chief Minister and delay in declaration of elections for unavoidable reasons.

BJP Chief Amit Shah had wrote to the Law Commission expressing support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “One nation one election” idea.

According to him, the Opposition’s objections to the idea were “politically motivated and inappropriate”.