Panel may soon place report on ‘One Nation, One Election’ before Cabinet | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Panel may soon place report on ‘One Nation, One Election’ before Cabinet

Jun 15, 2024 03:21 AM IST

The panel had recommended simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies as the first step followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days.

The ministry of law and justice is likely to place before the Union Cabinet the report of the high-level committee on ‘One Nation, One Election’ in the next one or two weeks, as part of the department’s 100-day plan for the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, officials aware of the developments said on Friday.

Former President Ram Nath Kovind, who heads High-Level Committee (HLC) on 'One Nation, One Election', and committee member Union home minister Amit Shah, present the report on simultaneous elections to President Droupadi Murmu, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi. (File)(ANI)
Former President Ram Nath Kovind, who heads High-Level Committee (HLC) on 'One Nation, One Election', and committee member Union home minister Amit Shah, present the report on simultaneous elections to President Droupadi Murmu, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi. (File)(ANI)

The panel, led by former president Ram Nath Kovind, had recommended simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies as the first step, followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days, in its report submitted to President Droupadi Murmu in March.

“The ministry plans to submit the (same) report to the Union Cabinet in the next one or two weeks. The report submission before the Cabinet has been one of the topmost priority of the NDA government and part of the ministry’s 100 day agenda under the government’s new term,” a ministry official said, seeking anonymity.

A second official, who also did not wish to be named, said the report was approved by the President.

On September 2 last year, the Centre had notified the eight-member panel to discuss the feasibility of holding simultaneous elections across the country, sparking a debate on an issue with far-reaching impact on politics, Constitution, and federalism.

According to the report submitted to the President, the panel approached 62 political parties out of which 47 responded – 32 in support of holding simultaneous polls and 15 against it. The remaining did not submit a response.

“Simultaneous polls will help save resources, spur development and social cohesion, deepen the foundations of democratic rubric and help realise the aspirations of India, that is Bharat,” the report said.

“Simultaneous elections will bring fundamental transformation in the electoral process and overall governance. It will result in optimising scarce resources and also encourage voters to participate in the electoral process in larger numbers,” it added.

To be sure, simultaneous elections do not mean that voting across the country for the three tiers of government must take place on a single day. “In a country as large as India, it is not possible to have that. Pragmatism requires elections to be held in phases,” clarified the panel.

In all, the committee recommended two amendments to the Constitution.

Opposition parties have accused the Centre of trying to “completely dismantle” the Constitution and dubbed the idea of One Nation, One Election as “One Nation, No Election”.

As per rules, the Union Cabinet will analyse the report and send it back to the ministry with necessary changes. The ministry will then forward the report to the secretary-generals of Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha with relevant details (statement of objects and reasons, notes on clauses, financial memorandum, and memorandum regarding delegated legislation) and to the ministry of parliamentary affairs a month before the House session for legislative scheduling. The report will then be tabled in Parliament for voting.

With the Lok Sabha elections leaving the BJP with less than a majority of seats, the government may find it difficult to push contentious bills, especially those that would require constitutional amendments, without its support from its NDA partners and cooperation from the Opposition.

Several committees, including a parliamentary panel, the Niti Aayog and the Election Commission of India, have studied simultaneous polls in the past, backing the idea but flagging logistical concerns.

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