The central government, led by PM Modi, today set up a 'One Nation, One Poll' committee to build a wider consensus on holding elections simultaneously across the country.
New Delhi: The government's move to hold special session of the Parliament in September has set off talks about the possibility of Lok Sabha elections being advanced from April-May to be clubbed with state elections. An early election, it is believed, could complicate matters for the INDIA bloc by forcing it to arrive on consensus on issues like PM face and hammer out seat-sharing arrangement among its members, which are mostly having regional footprint.
During the five-day session, the government is likely to highlight its achievements - high growth rate, rise to the fifth spot in global economy, effective fight against the pandemic, free ration and other welfare measures along with high-visibility moments like the Chandrayaan-3 mission which is certain to highlight the growing geopolitical heft," said a BJP source, according to the Times of India
The move for early elections, if at all announced, will not be the first by the BJP government. The gambit did not pay off for the party in 2004 when the then BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the elections. Saffron strategists, however, feel that the party is well prepared this time. The Modi government’s approval ratings are high and the successful implementation of an entire raft of welfare schemes would ensure that the opposition would not be able to pick openings like it did when it turned the Vajpayee government's "India Shining"campaign to successfully cast it as pro-rich, TOI reported.
The central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today set up a 'One Nation, One Poll' committee to build a wider consensus on holding elections simultaneously across the country. The panel will be headed by former President Ramnath Kovind and include six members, sources told Times Now.
The move comes ahead of the special session of the Parliament. During the special Parliament session between September 18-22, the government is likely to introduce One Nation, One Election Bill, according to a report.
The move to set up 'One Nation, One Poll' committee has been criticised by the Opposition which has claimed that it will be very challenging to implement simultaneous polls in a multi-party democracy. The Congress has called the move as a "jumla" by the government to divert the attention from key issues. "One nation, one election' will weaken the Constitution. Centre is rattled because of the Opposition's meeting. Thus, they are taking such decisions, RJD's Mrityunjay Tiwari said.
"I don't think practically it( One Nation, One Poll) is possible at this point in time...What about the constitutional issues that will come up while implementing it," Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader Ravula Sridhar Reddy said.
Currently, elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha are held separately — after the five-year term of the incumbent government ends or if it is dissolved due to various reasons.
Supports of 'One Nation, One Poll'policy claim that holding simultaneous elections would cut down the costs involved in separate elections. As per reports, a whopping Rs 60,000 crore was spent on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The amount includes what was spent by the political parties fighting the polls and the spending by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to hold the elections.
They also argue that simultaneous polls will increase efficiency in the administrative set up throughout the country, since it slows down considerably during polling. Normal administrative duties are affected by elections as officials engage in polling duties, they claim.
The Law Commission has said holding simultaneous elections will boost voter turnout as it will be more convenient for them to cast votes at once.
However, various political parties have raised concern that they would not be able to raise their local issues strongly as national issues take centre stage. They would also be unable to compete with national parties in terms of election expenditure and election strategy.