The Election Commision will have to get the nod from recognised national and regional parties to pull off simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. “The Election Commission in its earlier responses to the government has underlined the need for political consensus. All parties have to be on board, following which a constitutional amendment will have to be made,” an EC official told Hindustan Times.
“Articles 83(2) and 172(1) do not allow the Lok Sabha and state assembly terms to extended beyond five years and Article 356 allows the union government to dismiss a state government in case of law and order failure,” the official added.
The government will have to tackle what happens if a state government fails to complete a term. Election commissioner, OP Rawat claimed that the election watchdog would be ready to hold assembly and Lok Sabha polls simultaneously by end of next year.
The move could cut poll costs by hundreds of crores of rupees.
Rawat had said that the ECI had told the government about lack of equipment and requirement of funds to conduct simultaneous polls, and it have been made available. The ECI has placed the order for machinery, he said adding that, the procurement will be completed by September 2018. After this, the ECI can hold concurrent Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
He said while Rs 3,400 crore has been granted for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, Rs 12,000 crore given for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The total 40 lakh machines will be available for holding concurrent polls.
Polls to assemblies in seven states are due to be held in 2018 including Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram; Nagaland, and, Tripura.