New Delhi, Apr 14: A group of ministers set up to examine an Election Commission proposal to buy new EVMs has also been mandated to examine the feasibility of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in a bid to bring down the cost involved in the democratic exercise.
But at the first meeting of the GoM headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, it was felt that the panel of ministers may not be the right forum to make recommendations on simultaneous polls, a senior government functionary said.
The GoM may now first recommend possible ways to reduce the cost of buying new EVMs and then delve into the issue of whether to make recommendations on simultaneous polls, the functionary said. The GoM constituted recently, met for the first time on April 11.
Its other members include Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during a meeting of BJP office-bearers on March 19 that state elections coupled with local-level polls, spread across virtually every year, often "hinder" the execution of welfare measures.
He was keen on simultaneous elections once in five years. The government feels that while one-time cost in holding simultaneous polls would be high, but the exercise may bring down expenditure involved in 'election bandobast' such as deployment of central forces and polling personnel.
In December last, a Parliamentary Committee has made a strong pitch for holding of simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections all over the country, suggesting that it can be done in the near future. But most of the political parties which responded to the Standing Committees questionnaire have said the idea is a "noble" one but "difficult to implement".
"The Committee does not feel that simultaneous election in every five year cannot be held in the near future but slowly it would reach in stages for which tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be curtailed or extended," the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel said in its report 'Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies'.