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New Delhi: Union minister for parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi on Friday, September 1, said that a committee has been formed to examine the possibility of a system of “One Nation, One Election”, under which simultaneous elections would be held for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The idea of simultaneous elections is not new and has been advocated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past. The present committee, headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind, will be the fourth to examine the possibility of simultaneous elections.
Earlier, the prospect was discussed by the Law Commission, NITI Aayog, and a Parliamentary Standing Committee. “Right now only a committee has been constituted to discuss the topic of ‘One nation, One election’,” Joshi told reporters on Friday. “Once the committee comes up with a report, it will be placed in the public domain and a discussion will be held. When the report comes to parliament, it will be discussed in parliament as well. There is nothing to be nervous about, as discussions will be held. We are the world’s largest democracy and we are known as the mother of democracy. This is the evolution of democracy in the mother of democracy,” he said.
“The new issues that come in national interest need to be discussed in a democracy. This does not mean that such a system will be brought in tomorrow. We have not said that.”
It was announced on September 2, that the government has formed an eight-member committee to examine the ‘One nation, One election’ possibility.
Former President Ram Nath Kovind was appointed as chairman of the committee. Union home minister Amit Shah, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Rajya Sabha LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad, former finance commission chairman N.K. Singh, former secretary general Lok Sabha Subhash C. Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve and former chief vigilance commissioner Sanjay Kothari are in the committee.
The notification added that law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend the committee meetings as a special invitee. The committee is expected to begin functioning immediately and submit its recommendations “at the earliest”. Former president Ram Nath Kovind. Photo: PTI‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal not new
The idea of simultaneous elections is not new.
L The first few general elections post-independence were held simultaneously, with the state legislative assembly elections, according to a paper published by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Wing of the Research & Information Division, Lok Sabha Secretariat. While the practice continued till 1967, due to the premature dissolution of some state assemblies in 1968 and 1969, the system of simultaneous elections was disrupted.
“Thus, since the 1967 elections, the practice of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas could not be maintained and the elections have still not been realigned,” the paper states.
Modi government’s three committees to study simultaneous polls , Since the Modi government came to power in 2014, simultaneous elections have been on the agenda.
The Modi government has already constituted three separate committees to look into the possibility of having a system for “One Nation, One Polls.”
In order to conduct such simultaneous elections, it said that there needs to be made appropriate amendments to the constitution, the Representation of the People Act 1951, and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
It also said that at least 50% of the states should ratify the constitutional amendments. It recommended advancing some state elections, and making adjustments in the schedule of others, a possible constitutional amendment for extending or curtailing the term of one or more legislative assemblies, and also suggested simultaneous motion of no-confidence in the incumbent government as well as confidence in alternative government, among others.
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