Bhopal: In the backdrop of the ‘one nation, one election’ concept, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has affirmed the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) readiness to operate within the framework of constitutional provisions and the Representative of the People (RP) Act.
During a visit to Bhopal, Mr. Kumar and senior ECI officials engaged in discussions with political parties and administrative bodies on election preparedness in the state of Madhya Pradesh, which is governed by the BJP and is due for polls by November.
Mr. Kumar announced that the final voters’ list for the state would be published on October 5, revealing that Madhya Pradesh boasts nearly 5.5 crore voters.
Responding to inquiries about the ‘one nation, one election’ concept, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) emphasized the ECI’s duty to “conduct elections within the stipulated timeframe” as per constitutional provisions and the RP Act. This timeframe corresponds to five years from the first sitting of Parliament following the formation of a new government, during which the ECI can announce general elections up to six months before the term’s end. Similar norms apply to assembly elections.
Mr. Kumar reiterated that the ECI is mandated and prepared to execute elections in accordance with legal provisions.
The central government recently established a high-level committee, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, to explore the feasibility of concurrent elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, and local bodies, placing ‘one nation, one election’ in the spotlight.
Regarding e-voting, the CEC noted that while technology is not an impediment, discussions on its implementation are ongoing. He highlighted concerns related to the vulnerability of e-voting systems to hacking and trust issues.
Furthermore, Mr. Kumar revealed that the ECI is working to enable senior citizens and persons with disabilities to vote from their homes in upcoming polls if they apply for such accommodation. This initiative allows eligible voters to request voting from home through an online form. Election officials will visit their residences, ensuring confidential voting while videographing the process in the presence of political party representatives.
The ECI aims to enhance voter turnout and ensure the participation of women, new voters, and other vulnerable tribal groups. The CEC also addressed campaign expenses and the issue of freebies in elections.
In conclusion, Mr. Kumar clarified that jail inmates are not allowed to vote as per the law.