Panel Recommends Roadmap for Simultaneous Elections in India

A high-level committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind has recommended a clear roadmap for transitioning to simultaneous elections for Parliament, state assemblies, and local bodies in the country.

The 22-member panel, which submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu, has suggested a two-stage process to synchronize the election cycles of the three tiers of government, with the aim of improving governance, reducing election expenditure, and minimizing disruptions caused by frequent polls.

Stage One: Synchronizing Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections

As per the committee’s recommendations, the first step would involve aligning the election schedules of the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. This would be achieved through a “one-time transitory measure” where an “appointed date” is identified by the Union government immediately following a Lok Sabha election.

All state assemblies whose terms are set to expire after this appointed date would have their tenures synchronized with that of the Lok Sabha. In effect, this would mean that some state assemblies may have terms shorter than the usual five years as a one-time measure to facilitate the alignment of election cycles.

Stage Two: Integrating Local Body Polls

The second phase of the transition to simultaneous elections, as per the Kovind panel’s roadmap, would involve integrating elections to local bodies – municipalities and panchayats – into the synchronized cycle. The committee has recommended that these grassroots-level polls be held within 100 days of the unified Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

To enable this, the panel has suggested a new constitutional provision, Article 324A, which would empower Parliament to enact a law to ensure that municipal and panchayat elections are held concurrently with general elections.

The committee has also recommended amending Article 325 of the Constitution to allow the Election Commission of India, in consultation with State Election Commissions, to prepare a common electoral roll and issue a single Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) for all elections.

Key Recommendations at a Glance

  1. Synchronize Lok Sabha and state assembly elections in two stages through a “one-time transitory measure”.
  2. Hold municipal and panchayat elections within 100 days of synchronized Parliament and assembly polls.
  3. Amend Constitution to enable common electoral roll and single voter ID card for all elections.
  4. Introduce new constitutional provision (Article 324A) to empower Parliament to ensure simultaneous local body polls.
  5. In case of mid-term polls, hold fresh elections only for remainder of term to preserve synchronicity.

While the high-level committee’s recommendations provide a detailed blueprint for transitioning to simultaneous elections, the ultimate decision rests with the political leadership and the citizens of the country.


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