Simultaneous elections in India: Amidst Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “one nation one election” pitch, the Election Commission of India has come up with a proposal of “one year one election”, according to The Indian Express report. The poll body has ideated the proposal in its reply to a letter shot off by the Law Commission on April 24. In the letter the Law Commission had wanted to ascertain the ECI’s views on holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections across the country. Apart from this, the Law Commission had asked for the poll body’s position on 15 sociopolitical and economic issues and five Constitutional matters. Law Commission felt that these issues must be addressed before holding the multiple polls at a same time, the report says.
At present, assembly elections are held in states where the term of assemblies end within a few months of each other. This is because Section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits the EC from notifying elections more than six months before the term of a state assembly is about to expire. Last year, the EC had conducted elections for five states- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in one go. Again in the December, the elections were held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
How “one year one election” could be held
Reports says it would be easier to hold “one year one election”. However, if the Centre wamts to hold imultaneous polls, five amendments need to be made in the Constitution. Article 83, which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament, will have to be tweaked, along with Article 85 (dissolution of Lok Sabha by the President), Article 172 (duration of state legislatures), Article 174 (dissolution of state assemblies) and Article 356 (President’s Rule), to facilitate simultaneous polls, EC was quoted as saying by IE. “One year one election” can be executed by amending Section 15 of the RP Act 1951, former legal advisor to EC S K Mendiratta was quoted as saying by IE.
President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi’s pitch
President Ram Nath Kovind in his first address to Parliament had made a strong pitch for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. In his address, Kovind said: “Citizens alive to the state of governance in the country are concerned about the frequent elections in one part of the country or another, which adversely impact the economy and development. Therefore, a sustained debate is required on the subject of simultaneous elections and all political parties need to arrive at a consensus on this issue.” PM Modi had advocated simultaneous polls during a meeting of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies.