The Union Government has constituted a committee headed by former President of India Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of ‘One Nation, One Election’ which envisages the holding of general election and state Assembly elections simultaneously.
Sources said that the committee will explore the possibility of bringing legislation regarding it. A parliamentary standing committee, the Law Commission and NITI Ayog had earlier examined the ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal and submitted reports on the subject.
The Government has decided to call a Special Session of Parliament from September 18-22 where it is speculated that the government could bring a bill for this proposal to take effect.
With five states going to the polls later this year and a few more to go to polls with the General Elections due in 2024 there is speculation that One Nation, One Election could become a reality very soon.
If ‘One Nation, One Election’ does come into effect it could mean that elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies across India will be held simultaneously, with voting taking place at the same time.
Simultaneous elections for the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held till 1967. However, in 1968 and 1969 some legislative assemblies were dissolved prematurely followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 1970. This forced a change in electoral schedules for the states and the country.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, had said in its 2014 election manifesto that it would seek to evolve a method of holding the elections simultaneously to both state assemblies and the Lok Sabha.
In December 2022, the Law Commission had sought the opinion of political parties, the Election Commission of India, bureaucrats and other experts on the proposal to hold simultaneous elections in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has several times pitched the idea of One Nation, One Election. In November 2020 while addressing a conference of presiding officers he had said, “One nation, one election is not only a subject of debate but a necessity for India. There is an election in India every month, which hampers development. Why should the country waste so much money?”
The opposition INDIA alliance which is working on a joint alliance to oppose the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls however has objected to the proposal.
Shiv Sena UBT faction leader Sanjay Raut said “The country is already one, is anyone questioning that? We demand fair election, not ‘one nation one election’. This concept of ‘one nation one election’ is being brought to divert the attention from our demand of fair election.”
Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ramgopal Yadav said, “This talk of One Nation, One Election took place earlier…there should be a discussion on the subject. If the government just wants to call a special session and rubber stamp the decision, then it is wrong.”
With the newly formed committee under President Kovind now in place it is expected that the Government will fast track the proposal.
(with inputs from ANI)