One Nation, One Election: Ready for polls as per legal provisions, says Chief Election Commissioner

ECE reacted to ongoing debate on 'one nation one election'
Image Source : PTI ECE reacted to ongoing debate on ‘one nation one election’

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday said the poll panel is ready to act as per constitutional provisions and the Representative of the People (RP) Act. He was responding to a question related to the Centre’s move on ‘one nation, one election’.

ECI officials, who paid a visit to poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, held a press conference after conducting meetings with political parties and the administration and enforcement agencies over election preparedness. Polls are due by November in the state.

This time, according to legal provisions, is five years from the date of the first sitting of Parliament after a new government is formed. The ECI can announce the general elections six months before the end of this time, Kumar said. The norms are similar for assembly elections, he added.

The ECI is mandated and ready to deliver elections as per legal provisions, he said.

 ‘One Nation, One Election’ committee’s first meeting

Meanwhile, the first official meeting of the ‘One Nation, One Election’ committee took place on Wednesday under the chairmanship of former President Ram Nath Kovind at his residence, in Delhi. Home Minister Amit Shah, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal were also present in the meeting. Earlier, BJP chief J P Nadda had met ex-president Ram Nath Kovind soon after the latter was tasked with the responsibility of heading a committee to explore the feasibility of “one nation, one election”, which was the case till 1967.

Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections

The final voters’ list will be published on October 5, the CEC said. The state has nearly 5.5 crore voters, he said.

The poll commission is required to “deliver elections before the time” as per constitutional provisions and the RP Act, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said.

Madhya Pradesh has 5.52 crore voters, including 2.85 crore male and 2.67 female electors. The state also has 1,336 transgender persons, 4.85 lakh people with disabilities, 7.12 lakh voters aged above 80 years, 6,180 people who are more than 100 years old, 18.86 lakh new voters and 75,426 service voters.

Kumar said ECI is 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.

Such voters can request through an online form to vote from home, he said. Election officials will visit the homes of such voters and ensure voting with confidentiality and also videograph the process in the presence of political parties’ representatives, he said.

The poll commission is also making efforts to increase voting percentage and ensure the participation of women, new voters and other vulnerable tribal groups, he said.

Asked about the current expenses of candidates whose names have already been announced by their parties, Kumar said as per legal provisions, a candidate is needed to keep a tab of their expenditure from the date of nomination till the polling day.

BJP has already announced 39 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, which has 230 assembly seats.

About freebies, the CEC said political parties have the right to inform voters about what they are offering to the electors but they also need to spell out the timeline of fulfilling the promise, the expenditure to be incurred on it and the arrangement of funds.

ECI has made a detailed report in this regard but the issue of freebies in polls is sub-judice with the matter reaching the Supreme Court, he said. In reply to another question, he said jail inmates are not allowed to vote as per the law.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Ram Nath Kovind chairs meet on ‘One Nation One Election’, Amit Shah in attendance

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