Just a day after Amit Shah wrote to the Law Commission seeking simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly, the Election Commission made it clear that it is not possible to hold simultaneous polls next year. The CEC cited technical issues as the reason for not able to conduct the parallel polls.
"We don't have enough VVPATs to conduct simultaneous polls," Chief election commissioner OP Rawat said.
It is estimated that 34 lakh ballot units, 26 lakh control units and 27 lakh VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machines would be needed. The EC cannot place an order for additional machines without necessary legal framework. This need required changes in the relevant laws, including amendments to the Constitution.
After the legal framework sanctions the simultaneous polls, the EC has to assess the additional requirement of EVMs and VVPAT units and present a budget to the government for procuring the additionally required machines and then have to place an order with the manufacturers. Only after this long procedure, the manufacturers will start the production. With very little time for 2019 general elections, the chances of simultaneous polls look bleak.
For beginners, Ballot and Control Units of the EVMs will be delivered by the two PSU manufacturers - Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL). Already, the VVPAT delivery is said to be behind the schedule.