BJP backs ‘One Nation, One Election’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

BJP backs ‘One Nation, One Election’

BySaptarshi Das
Feb 21, 2024 09:49 AM IST

A four-member BJP delegation led by party chief JP Nadda met the panel led by former president Ram Nath Kovind and handed over a written memorandum

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday backed simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha, assembly and local bodies, telling a high-level committee that changes in the law that governs India’s elections should be brought through consensus and the repeated invocation of the model code of conduct hurts governance and fosters corruption.

BJP chief JP Nadda. (ANI)
BJP chief JP Nadda. (ANI)

A four-member BJP delegation led by party chief JP Nadda met the panel led by former president Ram Nath Kovind and handed over a written memorandum. The BJP becomes the fourth party to back the contentious proposal; at least eight opposition parties, including the Congress, have opposed the idea, saying it will hurt democracy and federalism.

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“BJP has put forth that in the People’s Representative Act, change should be made through consensus. There should be only one voter list for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha & Panchayat,” Nadda told reporters.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951 regulates elections to the Houses of Parliament and state legislatures, and also deals with the allocation of seats, delimitation of constituencies, and qualifications of voters.

The BJP delegation -- comprising Nadda, Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav and party national executive member Om Pathak -- told the panel to synchronise Lok Sabha and assembly polls at the earliest if local body polls cannot be done immediately.

“...We suggest that all three polls should be synchronised together. If immediately we cannot synchronise local body polls, then at least Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha polls should be conducted together....or else the issues that happen during the model of code of conduct will continue,” Nadda said.

The Centre has tasked the HLC to explore the possibility of simultaneous polls. The Law Commission is also looking into the contentious idea.

The BJP’s submission also focussed on the model code of conduct -- a set of rules implemented by the Election Commission between the date of announcement of polls and the date of voting. The party said the model code affected “administration and good governance, along with the speed of development”.

“There is a financial burden on the parties as well and this becomes a reason for corruption. Security forces that are deployed for internal and external security on the border are and again deployed in the states for the elections,” Nadda said.

The issue of holding state and national elections simultaneously is a politically loaded one, and is also seen as polarising. From the first elections in Independent India in 1952 until 1967, elections were held simultaneously across the country. But since the Lok Sabha and state assemblies can be dissolved before their tenures end, the state and national elections came to be held at different times after that.

The BJP’s 2014 and 2019 manifestos pitched for simultaneous elections across the country but for that to come into force, at least five articles in the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act would have to be tweaked. 

In the past, a parliamentary standing committee, the Niti Aayog, and the Law Commission have weighed in on the issue, expressing concern over the burgeoning expense of holding one election after another but also flagging possible constitutional and legal problems.

Kovind has already come out in favour of simultaneous parliamentary and state assembly polls, urging all political parties to support the idea in national interest. In November last year, the former president said any party in power at the Centre will benefit from “one nation, one election” and money saved in election expenditure could be used for development.

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