MELBOURNE:  The Election Commission is prepared to simultaneously hold general and state assembly polls provided there is a consensus among all political parties and constitutional amendments to this effect, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi has said.

"As a commission, this is our recommendation to the Law Ministry that elections in the country can be held together for both state assemblies as well as Lok Sabha," Mr Zaidi told news agency PTI in Melbourne.

"To conduct these elections simultaneously we would need certain logistic arrangements in terms of procurement of more electronic machines, hiring of temporary workers, and staggering the election dates," said Mr Zaidi, who was in Melbourne to attend the International Election Visitors programme on the invitation of the Australian Election Commission.

"We have made a similar recommendation to parliamentary committee which examines this issue and the committee has also given their suggestion that the issue requires lot of debate across all political parties as the Constitution have to be amended as several states would have to be brought forward while some have to be moved backwards," he said.

"We are on board with our proposal that elections can be held together provided there is consensus, unanimity of opinion among the political parties and also there are amendments in the Constitution," the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) added.

The International Election Visitors programme was held in Melbourne to expose the 19 visiting commissioners from the globe to the Australian electoral system.

The commissioners were given familiarisation programme to understand the election processes and to internationalise the partnership among them.

"We were impressed with the simplicity of the Australian election process, the transparency, the amount of trust that is placed on a voter here, cooperation with political parties and the way the election campaigns are carried out," the CEC said.

Asked what India can imitate from Australian election systems or processes, Mr Zaidi said the Commission is looking at examining the postal ballot facility expansion for the voters.

"We have small numbers right now who are allowed for postal ballots but we will have to examine this if we can expand this for other voters," he said.

Mr Zaidi also said the Commission was encouraging the NRI voters to register themselves online to be a part of the elections back home.

He said the CEC along with Indian embassies were proactively engaging with Indian citizens living abroad to register them online as the number of NRIs registered so far to vote have been less than 30,000.

Mr Zaidi said the commission was also working towards electronic postal ballot facility for NRIs which would enable them to vote without being present in India.

"We are also exploring at the ministerial level that if we can place these ballots boxes in some commissions/Indian embassies where these postal ballots can be dropped and transported back to India by quickest means," Mr Zaidi said.

The work is also underway for domestic migrants and a committee was set up to examine if the similar facility can be extended to them, he said.

"The report for domestic migrants is also ready and now both the reports (For NRIs and domestic migrants) will be considered by the law ministry which will pave the way for a resolution," Mr Zaidi said.

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