‘One Nation, One Election’: Why Modi govt wants to implement it?

A day after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi announced that a ‘Special Session’ of Parliament will be held for five days starting on September 18 to September 22, the Union government constituted a committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of ‘One Nation, One Election’ – holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections. According to the reports, the Centre is planning to introduce the ‘One Nation, One Election’ Bill in Parliament during the special five-day session.

“Right now, a committee has been constituted. A report of the committee will come out, which will be discussed. The Parliament is mature, and discussions will take place; there is no need to get nervous… India is called the mother of democracy; there is evolution… this is part of evolution,” Pralhad Joshi said.

The move has added to the heated politics between the Opposition and the Centre, as the previous accused the ruling government of amending the Constitution. “…They also needed the approval of the states,” Former MP CM and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said.

This is not a new concept for the country. India had simultaneously held Lok Sabha and Assembly elections prior to 1967 — in 1951-52, 1957, 1962 and 1967. But they were stopped when some state Assemblies and Lok Sabha were dissolved ahead of their conclusions.

‘One Nation, One Election’ has also long been an election promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). PM Narendra Modi has time and again advocated the implementation of ‘One Nation, One Election’ to save time and money spent during the polls. The BJP has argued that holding Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections separately wastes money and also interferes with governance.

Their 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto read: “The BJP will seek, through consultation of other parties, to evolve a method of holding Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously. Apart from reducing election expenses for both political parties and the government, this will ensure certain stability for state governments. We will also look at revising expenditure limits realistically.”

But for it the ‘One Nation, One Election’ Bill to come into force, five articles in the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act would have to be tweaked, according to a report.

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Updated: 01 Sep 2023, 09:10 PM IST

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