Reality check for BJP on ‘One Nation One Election’ push: CEC OP Rawat says not enough VVPATs for simultaneous polls

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A day after BJP president Amit Shah wrote a letter to Law Commission Chairman BS Chauhan, urging the Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections in the country, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat has virtually rejected the idea, pointing out that the number of VVPAT machines that are currently available are not enough to go ahead with the idea. Rawat said that more machines would be required if such an exercise is to be attempted, the decision for which would be taken in a month or two. The CEC further stated that the poll body does not have the required number of VVPATs to conduct 11 state polls along with the 2019 general elections. The CECs clarification comes in wake of numerous reports suggesting that the BJP was deliberating on the idea of advancing elections in some states and delaying it in some others to conduct them along with the Lok Sabha elections. As per reports, 12 states could have Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha 2019 polls. Shah had earlier written to Law Commission Chairman Chauhan supporting the One Nation One Election system. The BJP chief in his letter pointed out that with numerous polls conducted throughout the year, the Model Code of Conduct becomes a hindrance to the developmental work of the government. He gave examples of Sweden, Indonesia, Belgium, Italy and South Africa where simultaneous elections are held. Shah had observed that there was no reason why One Nation One Election is could not be in the Indian electoral system. While NDA allies were said to have given their approval to the idea, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said that the idea, though fundamentally correct, could not be implemented this time. Last Friday, the CEC had suggested holding one poll every year as an alternative measure. He had said that the step would prevent violations in Model Code of Conduct on various platforms including on social media. The NDA government had been voicing for the idea ever since forming the government at the Centre in 2014. In June this year, PM Narendra Modi, while addressing the governing council of NITI Aayog, suggested a #WATCH: Chief Election Commissioner, OP Rawat, says, simultaneous elections are possible given the required legal framework is in place. Extra polling personnel, security, VVPATs will also be needed. pic.twitter.com\/xA5GVQKeh7