By Prarthana Mitra
On Thursday, the Election Commission of India refused to go along with BJP’s plans to hold combined elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O P Rawat yesterday ruled out the possibility which was recently gaining ground with speculation about simultaneous polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.
Earlier this month, PTI had reported Rawat as saying that the ECI was capable of conducting the four state assemblies this December. Asked about the EC’s preparedness, Rawat told PTI, “Why not. There would not be any problem,” indicating a strong possibility of rescheduling all elections scheduled for April-May 2019 to November-December 2018.
This week, however, he said that a legal framework would be required in order to conduct simultaneous polls.
No chance, given the short time
Elections in the four aforementioned states are scheduled for this November-December. But according to the earlier speculation, they would have been deferred and held concurrently next summer while elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand would have been advanced from next winter. With most of the states going to poll next year are still in BJP’s stronghold, the opposition and rival parties were against the idea of merging state elections with Lok Sabha polls. But with the ECI initially expressing its readiness, many thought we would be getting its first combined polls in the history of Indian democracy.
The question of readiness
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.