Poll Panel Needs 24-Lakh EVMs For Simultaneous Polls Of Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha

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New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (EC) will need around 24 lakh EVMs, double the number required to hold only the Parliamentary polls if it intends to hold simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and state assemblies in 2019.

During their discussion with the Law Commission on May 16 on the issue of holding simultaneous polls, the EC officials had said they would need around Rs 4,500 crore to buy nearly 12 lakh additional electronic voting machines (EVMs) and an equal number voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines. The estimate was based on the current cost to procure the devices, sources privy to the deliberations said.

In case simultaneous polls are held, two separate sets of EVMs and VVPAT machines will have to be placed in separate compartments for those contesting the Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly elections respectively. "There are nearly 10 lakh polling stations across the country. Since EVMs and paper-trail machines are deployed in every polling station, the requirement is for 10 lakh EVMs and an equal number of paper-trail machines. In addition, 20 percent of the machines are kept in the reserve. That comes to two lakh. Therefore, to hold the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, the EC needs 12 lakh EVMs and an equal number of VVPAT machines," explained a functionary.

Thus, if simultaneous polls were held in 2019, the EC would require double the number of the EVMs, which was 24 lakh, he added. The functionary said as of now, five polling personnel are deployed per polling station. For simultaneous polls, the poll panel believes seven personnel will be required per polling station. Assuming that simultaneous polls were "again" held in 2024, the EC would need Rs 1,700 crore to replace some of the old EVMs, which would complete their 15-year life span by then, the sources said.

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