PM Modi for democratic parleys on ‘one nation, one election’
In June, soon after taking over as PM for the second time, Modi announced at an all-party meeting that a committee would be formed to examine the issue of “one country, one election” and give its suggestions in a timebound manner.Updated: Aug 16, 2019 00:31 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday focused on the government’s push for holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and assembly polls, contending in his address to the nation that the concept of “one nation, one election” will be good for India.
Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort, PM Modi said: “GST [Goods and Services Tax] achieved the dream of ‘one nation, one tax’. We successfully attained ‘one nation, one grid’ in the power sector. We also developed ‘one nation, one mobility card’ system, and today there is a discussion in the country for ‘one nation, one poll’ and it should happen in a democratic manner.”
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The Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been speaking of “one nation, one poll” as a measure that will same resources and allow time for governance instead of forever being in election mode. The Opposition, however, has been vehemently opposed to the plan, describing it as a threat to India’s federal structure.
In June, soon after taking over as PM for the second time, Modi announced at an all-party meeting that a committee would be formed to examine the issue of “one country, one election” and give its suggestions in a timebound manner.
The PM also pitched the idea of “one nation, one poll” during his first term; a parliamentary standing committee, the Niti Aayog, and the Law Commission subsequently deliberated on the issue and submitted reports.
The Law Commission recommended holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies to save public money; and the NITI Aayog suggested synchronised polling in phases for Lok Sabha and assembly polls from 2024.
Addressing a Niti Aayog meeting in June, Modi called for widespread debate and consultations on simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies, keeping in view aspects such as the resulting financial savings and better utilisation of resources.
The Election Commission of India, for its part, has said the proposal can be taken up only after political parties reach a consensus,. But several parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, have refuted the BJP’s stance that simultaneous elections can reduce expenditure, and help improve governance by insulating it from restrictions imposed by model code of conduct that is implemented during elections.