Move again for ''One Nation, One Election"? Ramnath Kovind to head study paneltext_fields
New Delhi: The Union government has former a committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of "one nation, one election", meaning in the normal course that state assembly elections will be held together with parliamentary election.
For the immediate future, this will also open the possibility of Lok Sabha polls being advanced so that they could be held with a string of state assembly contests.
Sources said on Friday that Kovind will explore the feasibility of the exercise and the mechanism to see as to how the country can go back to having simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, as was the case till 1967. However, it was not through any law that it happened to be so till then, but only coincidence, since there were no cases of assembly elections being held in intervening period.
The chairman is expected to speak to experts and may also consult leaders of different political parties, they said.
The government's decision comes a day after it decided to call a special session of Parliament between September 18 and 22, the agenda for which is under wraps. It could very well be that the government places before the parliament either a bill to implement the new idea or an introduction of the bill for some debates.
Since coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been harping on the suggestion for simultaneous polls, which include those at local bodies, citing financial burden caused by almost continuous election cycle and jolt to development work during the polling period.
Personally, Kovind too had echoed Modi's view and expressed his support to the idea after becoming President in 2017.
Addressing Parliament, he had said in 2018, "Frequent elections not only impose a huge burden on human resources but also impede the development process due to the promulgation of the model code of conduct." Like Modi, he had called for a sustained debate and expressed hope that all political parties arrive at a consensus on this issue.
With the Modi government approaching end of its second term, there is a view in its top echelon that it can no longer let the issue drag on and needs to move decisively to underscore its purposefulness after debating on the topic for years.
The party leaders of the BJP also have a fancy that with an integrated campaign by someone like the prime minister, and backed by grand projects and catchy slogans, the impact of campaign could be reflected both at the parliamentary and state levels.
Assembly polls are due in five states- Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Rajasthan- in November-December and they are scheduled to be followed by the Lok Sabha elections in May-June next year.
Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies are scheduled to go to the polls with the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP enjoys good relations with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik even though they are not formally part of its alliance.
The BJP is in power in Arunachal while Sikkim is ruled by an ally.
Maharashtra and Haryana, two states where the BJP is in power with allies, and JMM-Congress-ruled Jharkhand are slated to go for polls after the Lok Sabha contest.
(Inputs from PTI)