Panel to look into Simultaneous Polls

Published: June 20, 2019

The Prime Minister has constituted a committee to examine the issue of One Nation, One Election , and come up with suggestions in a time-bound manner.

What does One Nation, One Election Stand For?

At present elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha are held whenever the incumbent government s five-year term ends or when it is dissolved due to various reasons.

The idea of One Nation, One Election promotes a system wherein elections to all states and the Lok Sabha would be held simultaneously.

This would involve the restructuring of the Indian election cycle to ensure that elections to the states and the centre synchronise so that the voters will cast their vote for electing members of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies on a single day, at the same time (or in a phased manner as the case may be).

Genesis of the Idea

  • The idea of simultaneous polls was mooted in the annual report of the Election Commission in 1983.
  • The Law Commission s Report on Electoral reforms also referred to the idea of simultaneous polls in 1999.
  • The idea also got a mention ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the BJP manifesto.
  • PM Modi floated the idea once again in 2016, the Niti Aayog prepared a working paper on the subject in January 2017.
  • The working paper of the Law Commission in April 2018 recommended at least five Constitutional recommendations to get this off the ground.

Proposed Ideas to get the idea of Simultaneous Polls Rolling

There were two proposals for conducting simultaneous elections along with 17th Lok Sabha elections.

First Proposal

It proposes shifting to simultaneous polls in a phased manner wherein general elections to 12 State Assemblies (which by themselves face elections in late 2018 or 2019) and Union Territory of Delhi to be synchronised in 2019, as the rest of the states are in the middle of their five-year term.

The elections to the remaining State Legislative Assemblies and Union Territory with Legislature (Puducherry) to be synchronised by the end of 2021 for simultaneous polls and elections to the Lok Sabha and all the State Legislative Assemblies and Union Territories with legislatures to be held simultaneously from 2024.

Second Proposal

The second option involved synchronisation in two batches. Elections to the 12 State Legislative Assemblies and Delhi Union Territory would be synchronised with elections to the Lok Sabha in 2019 and elections to the remaining State Legislative Assemblies to be synchronised with that of Puducherry Union Territory by the end of 2021. This makes elections across the country synchronised in such a manner that they will be held twice every five years.

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