Former President Ram Nath Kovind-led panel to explore 'one-nation, one-poll' viability : The Tribune India

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Former President Ram Nath Kovind-led panel to explore 'one-nation, one-poll' viability

Former President Ram Nath Kovind-led panel to explore 'one-nation, one-poll' viability

Ex-prez Ram Nath Kovind

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, September 1

The government on Friday set up a committee under former President Ram Nath Kovind to examine the feasibility of “one nation, one election”, prompting opposition INDIA bloc leaders to hammer out possibilities of early Lok Sabha elections, otherwise scheduled for April-May 2024.

Past committees that favoured idea

1983: EC, in its annual report, backs simultaneous LS and Assembly polls

1999: Law Commission, in its 170th report, backs the idea

2015: Parliament panel on law and justice favours ‘one nation, one election’

2017: Niti Aayog’s discussion paper supports the idea

2018: Law Commission gives roadmap for achieving ‘one nation, one election’

2021: Parliamentary panel on law and justice again in favour of the proposal

The move follows scheduling of a special session of Parliament from September 18 to 22 amid a buzz of possible agenda on simultaneous polls though there is no official word on the issue.

Hours after the Centre formed the panel today and BJP president JP Nadda formally called on Kovind to deliberate on the agenda, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar urged opposition cadres to be alert and ready.

No need to be nervous

There is no need to be nervous because India is the mother of democracy. I will share the agenda of the special session in a few days.

Pralhad Joshi, Parl Minister

“The BJP wants to change the country’s history. Our aim is to strengthen India and ensure everyone’s welfare. We are moving fast on our agenda. Elections to the Lok Sabha can be held early and we have to be alert,” said Kumar, adding that possibilities of early elections were discussed at the meeting of INDIA leaders in Mumbai today.

Government sources here said a former CJI, a former CEC and a former Cabinet Secretary were likely to be put on the panel with Kovind. The committee would explore technical feasibility of the matter and attempt forging a political consensus with a former President helming it. It would mainly build on existing recommendations favouring simultaneous elections, a matter examined by many panels in the past.

For the BJP, the commitment to one nation, one election is not new. It was part of the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto. What is new is the renewed vigour to push the agenda ahead of five state elections and the 2024 General Election.

Upon re-election in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attempted to build a consensus around simultaneous polls. But an all-party meeting he convened to discuss the issue was widely boycotted by opposition top guns.

Ruling party stalwarts Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Assam CM Himanta Sarma among others welcomed the constitution of the panel, a move with which the BJP seeks to drive the narrative in an election year.

INDIA leaders said they were united and described the government’s latest move as an “attempt to divert attention from key issues concerning the people”.

So far as the core issue goes, it’s not new to India. The first three general elections (1952, 1957 and 1962) were held simultaneously. Premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 disrupted the practice.

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#Lok Sabha #Ram Nath Kovind

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