On ‘one-nation, one-election’: Centre forms panel to explore possibility | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

On 'one-nation, one-election', Centre forms Ram Nath Kovind-headed committee to explore possibility

Sep 01, 2023 11:26 AM IST

The move comes a day after the government called a special session of Parliament between September 18 and 22, the agenda for which is under wraps.

The Centre has reportedly constituted a committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of much-talked-about “one nation, one election”.

Former President of India Ram Nath Kovind. (Photo by Samir Jana/ Hindustan Times)
Former President of India Ram Nath Kovind. (Photo by Samir Jana/ Hindustan Times)

The development comes a day after the government called a special session of Parliament between September 18 and 22, the agenda for which is under wraps.

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Over the years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed strongly for the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, and the decision to task Kovind to look into it underscores the government's seriousness as a host of elections approach.

Kovind, too, had echoed Modi's view and expressed his support to the idea after becoming President in 2017.

“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,” he said addressing Parliament in 2018.

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.

With the ruling BJP under Modi always animated by grander themes and big ticket ideas to rally popular support, the issue will also suit the party politically and catch the opposition off-guard, leaders in the party believe.

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.

However, the recent moves by the government have thrown open the possibility of advancing the general elections and some state polls, which are scheduled after and with the Lok Sabha contest.

Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies are scheduled to go to the polls with the Lok Sabha elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party enjoys good ties 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.

Soon after the announcement of the government's decision for a special session of Parliament, there have been multiple speculations over the agenda for the five-day session. One of the agenda items speculated upon was dissolving the current Parliament and announcement of early Lok Sabha elections.

This decision, however, can be brought about by a cabinet decision and, therefore, convening a special sitting of Parliament if early Lok Sabha elections were indeed the agenda, was not a requirement. However, what could be part of the BJP government’s plan is that the government would put forth its achievements of the past five years and explain to the people via the parliament session the need to hold snap polls along with state elections that are scheduled to be held this year.

However, one-nation, one-election would need a constitutional amendment and then it would need to be taken to state assemblies. It is not a new concept having taken place four times in the 1950s and 60s but India has fewer states and a smaller population that could vote.

(With inputs from agencies)

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