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HomeNewsOne Nation, One Election: Introductory meet of panel on simultaneous polls today

One Nation, One Election: Introductory meet of panel on simultaneous polls today

The government had on September 2 notified the eight-member “high-level” panel to examine and make recommendations at the earliest on the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats.

Also read: Déjà vu: Is the One Nation, One Election plan feasible?

According to PTI news agency, the meeting on ‘One Nation, One Poll’ will be “introductory” in nature and members will discuss the roadmap and how to go about consulting with stakeholders.

The panel will also discuss how to go about holding consultations with stakeholders, research on the subject, and preparation of working papers.

‘One Nation, One Election’ committee members

The members included in the committee are – Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former leader of the opposition Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chairman of 15th Finance Commission NK Singh, former Lok Sabha general secretary Subash Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve, former chief vigilance commissioner Sanjay Kothari, and Minister of state (law) Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Also read: Government constitutes 8-member committee to examine ‘One nation, One election’. Amit Shah, Adhir Ranjan included

Congress’ leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was also a member. However, in a letter to Home Minister Shah, he declined to be part of the panel.

‘One Nation, One Election’ committee task:

The committee will examine and recommend specific amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act, and any other laws and rules that would require amendments for the purpose of holding simultaneous elections.

It has also been tasked to suggest a framework for synchronisation of elections and “specifically suggest the phases and time-frame within which simultaneous elections may be held if they cannot be held in one go…”.

It will also examine and recommend if the amendments to the Constitution would require ratification by states.

Certain amendments to the Constitution require ratification by at least 50% of the state assemblies.

The committee will also analyse and recommend possible solutions to scenarios such as a hung House, adoption of the no-confidence motion, defection, or any other event in case of simultaneous elections.

The committee has also been asked to recommend “necessary safeguards for ensuring the continuity of the cycle of simultaneous elections and recommend necessary amendments to the Constitution so that the cycle of simultaneous elections is not disturbed”.

The issue of logistics is also on the agenda of the panel as the massive exercise would require an additional number of EVMs and paper-trail machines, polling, and security personnel.

It will also examine and recommend the modalities of use of a single electoral roll and electoral identity cards for the identification of voters in elections to the Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats.

A parliamentary committee had recently said that a common electoral roll will help reduce expenses and prevent manpower from being deployed for work on which another agency is already working.

While the Election Commission (ED) is mandated to hold parliamentary and assembly polls, state election commissions (SECs) hold local body elections. The EC and the SECs are separate bodies under the Constitution with a fixed mandate.

One Nation One Election–What are the pros?

The original proposal was for simultaneous elections to all three tiers of democracy — Lok Sabha (543 MPs), Vidhan Sabha (4,120 MLAs), and the panchayats/ municipalities (30 lakh members).

Also read: ‘One Nation, One Election’: Why Modi govt wants to implement it?

The notification had pointed out that elections to the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies were mostly held simultaneously from 1951-52 to 1967 after which this cycle got broken and now, elections are held almost every year and within a year at different times, which results in massive expenditure by the government and other stakeholders.

It also leads to the diversion of security forces and other electoral officers engaged in such elections from their primary duties for significantly prolonged periods.

Frequent polls disrupt developmental work on account of prolonged application of the Model Code of Conduct.

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Updated: 23 Sep 2023, 06:52 AM IST

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