Election Commission reiterates support for simultaneous elections
The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday reiterated that it supports simultaneous polls in a meeting with the Law Commission, according to a report by The Indian Express.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat and his colleagues Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa have reportedly told members of the Law Commission that simultaneous polls are a “desirable” and “achievable” goal.
The EC, however, said that it is in support of holding simultaneous polls as long as the financial and legal challenges are overcome.
According to report, the Law Commission had written to the poll panel on April 24 seeking their views on the proposal.
Simultaneous polls would see alignment of all state assembly elections with the Lok Sabha election.
The Commission had asked for EC’s views on five constitutional issues and 15 socio-political and economic issues that need to be addressed before the government can gear up to hold simultaneous polls, the report adds.
Earlier this month, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s national president Amit Shah had dismissed talks that the 2019 general elections may be preponed and indicated that simultaneous elections may not be feasible due to lack of political consensus.
In January, President Ram Nath Kovind had called for a "sustained debate" on holding simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, saying all parties need to arrive at a consensus over the issue.
In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Pranab Mukherjee made strong pitches for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
PM Modi has repeatedly spoken in its favour, saying if the proposal was not suitable, it could be rejected, but there should be a debate on it.
NITI Aayog has also favoured synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly elections from 2024 to ensure "minimum campaign mode disruption" in governance.
The government think tank said it would be in national interest to hold simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, and suggested formation of a group of experts to devise how it could be done.