Consensus needed among parties on 'one nation, one poll': CEC

Election officials carry out counting of votes. Photo: PTI

Simultaneous polls, or 'one nation, one election', was "not happening very shortly" unless political parties sit together and evolve consensus and bring about requisite amendments in law, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said here on Saturday.

This is not something in which the EC could do much except saying it would also prefer such an arrangement, he added.

"And this is not a bureaucratic statement, just saying we agree in principle, etc. However, it is for the political parties to sit together and evolve some consensus, do the requisite amendments in law so that the (election) cycle can be brought together," Arora said.

"Unless that is done, it is kind of a good thing to talk at seminars, but it is not happening very shortly," Arora said at a function in Nirma University here.

He said simultaneous elections were in practice in the country till 1967, before a "cyclic imbalance" was created due to dissolution of some state assemblies, among other reasons.

The CEC also asserted that Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) cannot be tampered with, despite claims to the contrary from some people.

"I would like to say to all of you responsibly as the CEC of the country that EVMs cannot be tempered with. They can malfunction, like your car or two-wheelers, but they cannot be tampered with," he asserted.

Arora said "eminent scientists" working on EVMs and VVPATs for the Election Commission "feel very unhappy and deeply anguished that after all this work, the integrity of the VVPAT and EVMs gets doubted".

"We sound quite irrational when we talk about EVMs in this manner (that it has been tampered with, etc.)," he said.

The CEC cited results of various polls since 2014 to buttress his point that EVMs cannot be tampered with.

Addressing a gathering of students of the university, Arora also said people from economically-weaker sections are more active when it comes to voting in comparison to those from the upper strata of society.

"Such people cannot be shown nukkad natak to raise voting awareness. For them, awareness must come from within," he said.

He announced setting up of 'chair on interdisciplinary approach to electoral studies' in the Centre for Development at India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management to "commemorate and celebrate" former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan's "special connection with the young and aspiring Indians".

Seshan, who was CEC between 1990 and 1996, died on November 10.



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