Law Commission endorses idea of simultaneous polls

The draft report said that holding simultaneous elections will save public money.

New Delhi: The Law Commission of India has said that holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies is the solution to preventing the country from being in constant election mode.

In its draft report submitted to the law ministry, the panel has recommended changes in the Constitution and electoral law to hold the mammoth exercise.

The draft report said that the holding of simultaneous elections to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and state Legislative Assemblies (except the state of Jammu and Kashmir) will save public money, help reduce the burden on the administrative setup and security forces, and ensure better implementation of government policies.

It said that simultaneous polls will help the administrative machinery of the country to be continuously engaged in developmental activities “rather than electioneering”. The report, however, cautioned that holding simultaneous elections was not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution.

Last week, the Election Commission of India (ECI) ruled out the possibility of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. Chief election commissioner O.P. Rawat said that there was no chance at all of holding simultaneous elections without a “legal framework” in place. A news agency quoted Mr Rawat as replying, “Koi chance nahi” when asked about holding simultaneous polls.

It has been pointed out that it will take at least a year to frame a law for “one nation one election” to be enforceable. While the Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May next year, Assembly polls to Madhya Pradesh, Chattis-garh, Rajasthan and Mizoram are scheduled to be held later this year. The BJP government believes holding polls together at the national and state level will cut election costs in terms of both time and money.

A paper by the Law Commission recently recommended holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in two phases, beginning 2019. Most opposition parties have scoffed at the idea despite the government’s many attempts to bring them on board.

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