Ready to hold polls as per legal provisions, CEC on ‘one nation, one election’

Rajiv Kumar reviewed the preparations in Bhopal for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh due later this year

September 06, 2023 09:50 pm | Updated September 07, 2023 10:31 am IST - RAIPUR

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar with Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey (L) and Arun Goel (R) addressing press conference at Minto Hall in Bhopal on September 6

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar with Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey (L) and Arun Goel (R) addressing press conference at Minto Hall in Bhopal on September 6 | Photo Credit: A.M. FARUQUI

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on September 6 said the Election Commission of India was “ready to conduct elections as per legal provisions”. He was responding to a query whether the ECI was ready to conduct the much-discussed ‘One Nation, One Election’. 

The CEC was addressing a press conference in Bhopal on the preparations for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh due later this year. On the specific questions asked in the context of ‘One nation, One election’, Mr. Kumar said the poll commission was mandated to “deliver elections before the time” as per constitutional provisions and the RP Act (Representation of the People Act, 1951.)

He said that under the provisions of the said law, elections could be announced six months before the five-year tenure of the government ended, and that the norms were similar for Assembly polls.

The issue of a single election has triggered a nationwide debate since last week when the Centre announced the formation a high-level committee under former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha, State Assemblies and local bodies, bringing ‘One nation, One election’, under the spotlight. 

Also read: Explained | What is the debate around ‘one nation, one election’?

Earlier, Mr. Kumar and other top ECI officials held meetings with all stakeholders to assess the preparedness in Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Kumar said the State had nearly 5.5 crore voters and that the final voter list would be published on October 5. 

Special arrangements

He said the ECI was putting in place a system to enable senior citizens and persons with disabilities to vote from their homes in the upcoming polls if they apply for the same. They have further been given an option of applying online if they wished to vote from home. Election officials would visit the homes of such voters and ensure voting with confidentiality and also videograph the process in the presence of political parties’ representatives, he added. On the first time voters, he said special campaigns had been planned at schools and colleges to encourage the youngest of the voters to participate in the exercise. Mr. Kumar also mentioned the various arrangements put in place for other section of voters, including those living in far-flung areas. 

To a question on the possibility of “misuse of online transactions” in the run-up to polls, the CEC said financial institutions were being told to keep a watch on suspicious and bulk transactions and alert the authorities concerned.

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