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Uttar Pradesh government suggests simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies

A report prepared by an Uttar Pradesh government panel on simultaneous polls said that in the first instance, elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies may be held together, and subsequently, elections to local bodies should also be joined with them.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2018 22:46 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,simultaneous polls,Narendra Modi’
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said his government will be forwarding the report on simultaneous polls to the Centre.(PTI/File Photo)

The idea of ‘one-nation, one-poll’ got a boost when an electoral reforms committee of Uttar Pradesh government endorsed the demand for simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The practice was prevalent till 1967.

The committee has recommended that terms of those state assemblies which end before December 31, 2021, may be curtailed and elections held with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

The committee, chaired by health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, presented its report to chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday, in which it has sought to de-link local body polls from Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. It said only around 2029 would the system be ready to include local body polls in the ‘one-nation, one-poll’ system.

Adityanath later said the report would be sent to the Centre and added that the concept of simultaneous polls would be in the “larger public interest”.

UP is the first state to give the go-ahead to simultaneous polls that has found favour with President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi but has drawn mixed views from the opposition, said Singh.

A 2015 report by Parliament’s standing committee suggested holding simultaneous elections to save public money. It had put the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies separately at a staggering Rs 4,500 crore. The committee suggested linking voter names with Aadhaar to eliminate duplication.

Also read: Why simultaneous elections are bad for India’s democracy

While parliamentary polls are scheduled for 2019, assembly elections will be due in 11 states in 2018-2019. Polls in Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are slated for end of 2018 and early 2019 while the remaining four states polls are slated to be held with the general elections.

The Election Commission has already said it would be in a position to conduct simultaneous polls after September 2018. In April, the Law Commission had also agreed on the need for a constitutional amendment for conducting simultaneous polls and had decided to build a larger consensus by seeking opinion of all stake holders, including various political parties on the issue.

“Elections have their own dynamics and impact on the environment... Electioneering takes away time from the normal requirements of governance. It is also natural that various situations would get viewed through the prism of doing well in the elections, which may not always coincide with the larger and long term objective of good governance,” the report states.

“With frequent elections to different bodies the voter also has a tendency to develop a certain amount of apathy towards the electoral process. The committee, having carried out analysis as above, felt that there is a convincing case for the country to get out of the continual election mode that it has got into. We need to strike a fair balance between the time, energy and effort we spend on the conduct of elections with the needs of providing good governance,” the report further says.

First Published: Jun 05, 2018 18:08 IST