Simultaneous polls would benefit national parties: experts

\ New Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) Simultaneous Lok Sabha and state\assembly elections would benefit national parties but dwarf\the role of smaller regional ones which is not a good sign for\a healthy democracy, according to experts.\ \\"Whether one acknowledges it or not, the wave factor\associated with big political leaders and parties does affect\the outcome in state polls. And, therefore simultaneous\elections would benefit national parties, and small regional\parties\\’ fate will be difficult.\ \\"As a diverse country with a federal structure, the idea\of holding simultaneous polls somewhat does not bode well. The\presence of small parties is a manifestation of the democracy\that we are, which allows voters the option to choose from,\\"\former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said.\ He was speaking last evening at a panel discussion on\\\’Simultaneous Elections – Possibilities and Challenges\\’\organised by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)\here.\ Director at the Centre for the Study of Developing\Societies (CSDS) Sanjay Kumar also said, \\"Elections held\simultaneously are likely to benefit more the big national\parties, and the role of small regional parties will be\suppressed.\\"\ BJP has been of the view that there should be combined\elections from panchayat to Parliament, with Prime Minister\Narendra Modi was also keen on simultaneous Lok Sabha and\Assembly polls.\ President Pranab Mukherjee has also articulated that such\a system could ensure political and administrative stability,\as frequent elections disrupt regular functioning of the\government, and that political parties could collectively take\a decision on the issue.\ The panelists at the event yesterday were largely of the\view that \\"staggered\\" format of electoral exercise was in\favour of the federal structure, and if at all the proposition\of simultaneous elections is to be considered, an \\"all-party\consensus\\" should be reached first.\ BJP has held that state elections coupled with\local-level polls, spread across virtually every year, often\\\"hinder\\" the execution of welfare measures, and Union minister\M Venkaiah Naidu has said that India can pursue \\’one nation,\one election\\’ model.\ Quraishi said having simultaneous election would also\increase the logistical burden, starting with the massiveumber of EVM machines needed, and will cost the exchequer.\ Another panelist, BJP Rajya Sabha member Bhupender Yadav\said that instead of \\’one-nation one-election\\’, the model\should be \\"one-nation and systematic scheduled polls\\" to bring\an order in the process. (MORE) PTI KND\RT\

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