Law Commission, political parties to discuss feasibility of conducting simultaneous elections

The Law Commission is expected to hold consultations with all major political parties on July 7 and 8 over the feasibility of conducting simultaneous election of both Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Talks of the feasibility of conducting simultaneous polls have been in discussion for months.

In April, the Law Commission had stated that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies could be held in two phases from 2019, provided that at least two provisions of the Constitution are amended and ratified by a majority of the states.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley also reiterated the need for simultaneous elections to be conducted in the country, adding that this would be good for India.

“The Law Commission is looking at the feasibility of conducting simultaneous election of both Lok Sabha and state assemblies,” the sources said.

Earlier, the panel had invited suggestion from the general public.

Meanwhile, a report prepared by the BJP said huge expenditure was incurred in general elections conducted in 2009 and 2014 which amounted, roughly to Rs 1,115 crore and Rs 3,870 crore. The expenditure would multiply by several times together with elections in 31 state assemblies.

According to government statistics, elections to the 16th Lok Sabha witnessed 10 million personnel as polling officials across 9,30,000 polling stations across the country, where around 1,349 companies of central security forces were deployed.

The NITI Aayog has also brought out a discussion paper developed by Bibek Debroy and Kishore Desai. The report criticises the frequent elections model for continuously disrupting public life, requiring a large number of government employees and security personnel, paralysing governance and perpetuating caste, religion, and communal bitterness.

The report recommends a two-phase election – the Lok Sabha and roughly half the state assemblies together in 2019, and the rest of the states in 2021. However, political parties including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, NCP and CPI expressed their objections to the idea of simultaneous elections.

The Election Commission has also favoured the idea, stating it was desirable, but that it would need a set of amendments to the Constitution and election laws. Also, additional EVMs would be needed to hold Lok Sabha and assembly polls together across the country.

Based on a suggestion made by the Election Commission, the working paper puts in the rider that a no-confidence motion against the government should be followed by a confidence motion. This would ensure that if the opposition does not have the numbers to form an alternative government, the regime in office cannot be removed.