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EC now equipped to conduct Lok Sabha and Assembly election simultaneously

In a bid to give thrust to Narendra Modi government’s One India One Poll, the Election Commission on Wednesday informed the BJP-led Centre that it would be “logistically equipped” by September 2018 to hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and Assemblies. The Election Commission on Wednesday launched a web-based application, Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) network, aimed at efficient conduct of elections.
“After purchase of new machines we would be logistically ready by Sept 2018 to hold parliamentary and assembly polls together,” said Election Commissioner OP Rawat.

“However it is up to the government to take a decision and make required legal amendments,and all parties to be on board,” he added.The EC had informed the government that funds would be needed for a requisite number of EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) and had received Rs 3,400 crore and Rs 12,000 crore respectively for them.

The VVPAT machine is connected with EVMs and dispenses a paper proof for the voters so that they can verify that their vote is cast correctly.The EC will be in a position to hold simultaneous polls from September 2018, by when all machines are expected to be delivered. Around 40 lakh EVMs and VVPATs would be needed for simultaneous polls, said Rawat, after which the Centre will have to take a decision and make necessary legal amendments.

The EC, had last month, directed that VPAT or paper trail machines will be used at polling stations in all future elections. The Centre has been mulling over aligning the upcoming state elections, scheduled to be held in November-December 2018, with the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

If implemented, the general elections – due in April 2019 – could be preponed while the state elections will be postponed.

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