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UP panel says ‘yes’ to one-nation, one-poll

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

lucknow Updated: Jun 06, 2018 12:44 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP Panel,Uttar Pradesh,Health minister
Health minister Siddharth Nath Singh presenting the report to CM Yogi Adityanath.(HT Photo)

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

The practice of simultaneous polls was prevalent till 1967.

The committee has recommended that for those state assemblies, whose terms are ending before December 31, 2021, their terms may be curtailed and elections held along 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 delink local body polls from the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. The committee has said that only around 2029 would the system be ready to include local body polls in ‘one-nation, one-poll’ system.

Later Adityanath said the report would be sent to the centre and added that the concept of simultaneous polls would be in “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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi but has drawn mixed views from the opposition, the health minister said.

A 2015 report by Parliament’s standing committee, too, suggested holding simultaneous elections to save public money. It had put the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies at a staggering Rs 4,500 crore.

The UP committee also suggested linking voter names with Aadhaar to eliminate duplication.

While parliamentary polls are scheduled for 2019, assembly elections will be due in eight states in September 2018. 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 was in a position to conduct simultaneous polls after September 2018. In April the Law Commission, too, had 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 says while building a strong case for simultaneous polls.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 12:44 IST