'One Nation, One Election': High-Level Committee Submits Report to President Murmu, Gives Green Signal to Hold Simultaneous Polls

'One Nation, One Election': High-Level Committee Submits Report to President Murmu, Gives Green Signal to Hold Simultaneous Polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frequently discussed the idea, which was also included in his party’s 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto.

New Delhi: Stamping on the Centre’s proposal of ‘one nation, one election’, an expert committee headed by former President Ramnath Kovind is said to have “unanimously opined” that there should be simultaneous polls across the country.

The high-level panel, which was appointed to study the feasibility of synchronised Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu on March 14 morning after “five months of deliberations”.

The panel is learnt to have stated in the eight-volume report running into 18,000 pages that holding simultaneous elections in 2029 is “viable”. Kovind had previously voiced support for the proposal, arguing that the initiative would benefit the nation by reducing election expenses and enabling greater focus on development.

The group stated in the study that local body elections should be synchronized with the Lok Sabha and state elections and should be held simultaneously within the first 100 days.

“Concurrent elections will change both the political system and government. The panel stated that the idea can contribute to realising the goals of ‘India, that is Bharat’,” said the report, according to sources.

The panel also suggested that the Election Commission of India, in collaboration with state election authorities, prepare a uniform electoral roll and voter ID cards.

The sources said the report has drawn data from elections held between 1951-52 and 1967.

The committee is also said to have addressed the procedural and logistic challenges associated with the proposed initiative. 

Notably, the report includes a study by NK Singh, chairperson of the 15th Finance Commission, and Prachi Mishra from the International Monetary Fund — accessing the economic feasibility of holding the simultaneous polls.

The report, the sources said, has also outlined financial and administrative resources that are necessary for conducting such elections — taking into account feedback, which have been received from various stakeholders.

Formed in September last year, the committee’s mandate was to examine the potential impact of holding the simultaneous polls on governance, administration, political stability of the country, expenditure on the exchequer and voters’ participation, among other aspects.

It was entrusted with analyzing and suggesting potential remedies related to concurrent elections in the event of a hung house, no-confidence motion, defection, or similar circumstance.

However, the panel is learnt to have said in the report that implementing the proposal would require amendments to several articles of the Constitution and the Representation of Peoples Act. 

While the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have endorsed the idea, Opposition parties have expressed reservations — citing concerns about the impact on federalism and governance.

The sources said the panel consulted six national and 33 regional parties before reaching the conclusion. 

Home Minister Amit Shah, former Rajya Sabha MP and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, N K Singh, former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap and noted lawyer Harish Salve are the other members of the panel chaired by Kovind.

In India, simultaneous polling was the norm until 1967, when four elections were conducted in this manner. Following the early dissolution of several state assemblies in 1968–1969, the practice was discontinued. Additionally, the Lok Sabha was dissolved in 1970 — a year ahead of schedule — and midterm elections were held in 1971 for the first time.

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