Law Commission endorses simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls

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The Law Commission of India recommended holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies to save public money.

Simultaneous polls would help the government of the day focus on ‘developmental activities rather than in electioneering,’ the draft recommendations made available late Thursday.

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However, the commission recommended changes in the Constitution and the electoral law to hold the mammoth exercise. Simultaneous polls should be achieved by introducing “bare minimum” constitutional amendments and with the ratification of the States, it said.

‘One Nation, One Poll’, as it is commonly referred to would also also stop the drain on the administrative set-up and security forces. Simultaneous elections would further ensure better implementation of government policies on time.

Options suggested in the draft

  • Elections to 12 State Assemblies and one Union Territory (with legislature) can be synchronised with the general elections in 2019. Simultaneous polls can be achieved if there is ‘political will’ and if the States ‘agree voluntarily.’

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  • It said elections to the Assemblies of five States — Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Telangana — are due with the elections to the Lok Sabha and therefore already stand synchronised. Polls in Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and NCT of Delhi (Union Territory with Legislature) can also be held along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
  • In case of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan, where elections are due in early January of 2019 (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan) and end of 2018 (Mizoram), extension of up to six months is required to attain synchronisation with the Lok Sabha polls next year.
  • In case of the remaining 16 States and Puducherry (Union Territory with Legislature), holding simultaneous elections in 2019 would be impracticable, the Commission said. “Therefore, the elections to these State Legislative Assemblies can be conducted towards the end of 2021, which will be approximately midway of the term of the House of the People, assuming that the term of the 17th Lok Sabha begins in mid of 2019,” the Commission pointed out.

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The term of the State Assemblies so constituted as a result of the elections in 2021 shall be only for thirty months or till June 2024, whichever is earlier, the Commission said.

“Thereafter, elections to the House of the People and all the State Legislative Assemblies and Union Territories (with legislatures) can be held together from 2024, completely synchronising the elections,” it recommended.

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