As the two-day consultation held by Law Commission on the issue of holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls simultaneously ended on Sunday, four political parties supported the idea and nine opposed it.
The two major national parties — the BJP and the Congress — stayed away from the Law Commission’s deliberations. The BJP has, however, written to the Law Commission Chairman, Justice BS Chauhan, stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always argued in favour of simultaneous polls and sought time to submit their detailed response later.
Justice Chauhan is learnt to have asked that all representations be submitted by July 31.
The Congress said it would firm up its stand on the issue only after talking to allies and other political parties.
The NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the AIADMK, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) supported the idea.
BJP’s ally Goa Forward Party opposed the concept as did the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), DMK, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), CPI, CPI (M), All India Forward Block (AIFB) and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S).
The DMK, JD-S, and AAP were strongly opposed to simultaneous elections and argued that the move was against “basic tenets of the Constitution.”
The TDP said while the One Nation-One Poll may be a “good idea”, it was “incompatible with the Constitution and impracticable.”
DMK Working President MK Stalin’s letter, submitted by party MP Tiruchi Siva, pointed out, “The Working Paper does not seem to have considered that the Lok Sabha is also capable of being dissolved before its five year tenure. If such a situation were to happen, it is unclear whether all Legislative Assemblies will also be dissolved to synchronise the electoral process again.”
“In a federal democracy you cannot think of simultaneous elections. This is a futile exercise. First and foremost poll reform should be to put a ceiling on expenditure but no one’s talking about it,” senior JD-S leader Danish Ali told The Hindu and added that the proposal was aimed against smaller regional players.
The SP, TRS, AAP, DMK, TDP, JD (S) and All India Forward Block met the Law Commission to put forth their views.
The SP, represented by Ram Gopal Yadav, supported the concept. But Yadav made it clear that the first simultaneous poll should be held in 2019, when the term of the 16th Lok Sabha comes to an end.
If simultaneous polls are held in 2019, the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government in Uttar Pradesh will be shortened.
AAP’s Ashish Ketan told the law panel that simultaneous polls are a ploy to keep people away from forming a government as the terms of houses will be extended if the two polls are held together.
He also dubbed the idea as a move to impose “managed democracy” in the country, a senior law panel functionary present in the deliberations, said.
He also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be governing the country and not addressing rallies if simultaneous polls are held.
In a written response to the law panel, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao said his party supports the idea as months are spent preparing for polls throughout the year. B Vinod Kumar, who represented TRS at the meeting, said the analysis that local issues would be overshadowed by national issues if simultaneous polls are held, is incorrect. He gave examples of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to drive home the point that voters cast ballot keeping in mind both national and local issues.
The TDP also opposed the idea, saying, “Simultaneous elections are no longer feasible in a vast country like ours with different political complexities of the assemblies. It is not possible to cut short the tenure of the Parliament and Assemblies. Simultaneous elections are incompatible with the Constitution and are also impracticable.”
The DMK, JD-S and AIFB also opposed the concept.
JD-S representative Danish Ali told the law panel that the idea is against federal democracy. He said if the government is interested in electoral reforms, it should first implement earlier law panel reports on election reforms and then discuss simultaneous polls.
Yesterday, Shiromani Akali Dal had supported the concept, saying it would reduce expenditure of parties and shorten the period of the model code of conduct which hampers development work.
The AIADMK, represented by Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai, had said holding the two polls together is “desirable” but certain “practical” and “serious” issues need to be settled first.
The AIADMK, which rules Tamil Nadu, was of the view that if necessary, simultaneous elections should be held in 2024 and not before that. Sources said the party was also of the view that the TN Assembly should be allowed to complete its term and the Lok Sabha elections should be held as per schedule.
The TMC Congress was represented by Kalyan Bandhopadhyay, a Lok Sabha member, at the meeting. His party too had opposed the concept saying, regional issues would be overshadowed by national issues, and national parties with their “money power” would steal a march over smaller players.
The CPI, AIDUF and Goa Forward Party also expressed similar views.
The CPI(M) had last week told the Law Commission that holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together is inherently “anti-democratic” and negates the principles of federalism which is a fundamental feature of Constitution.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had written to the panel, listing the party’s objections to the proposal stating that it goes beyond the ambit of law reform entailing major amendments to Constitution, and would run against both the “letter and spirit of our Constitution”.
Yechury had said that it “may not be necessary” that his party attends the consultation.
Seeking to give shape to the government’s concept of “one nation, one election”, the Law Commission’s internal working paper has recommended holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously but in two phases beginning 2019.
Bihar caste census results: Greater population, greater rights is our pledge, says Rahul Gandhi
RJD president Lalu Yadav also issued a statement noting that the exercise will set the tone for nationwide caste census which will be undertaken when they form the next government at the Centre.
Nitish Kumar led Bihar government revealed caste survey results on Monday. The opposition including the Congress welcomed the results and urged the central government to conduct a similar exercise at the national level.
Speaking on the matter, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is also a vocal supporter of nationwide caste census, stated that Bihar’s survey revealed that 84 percent of the people in the state are Other Backward Classes (OBC’s), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribe (STs). He added that their rights should be provided based on their population.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote that out of 90 secretaries of the central government, only three are OBCs, who handle only 5 per cent of India’s budget. Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India. He further mentioned that greater the population, the greater the rights and that it is their pledge.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that the caste census results revealed the economic situation of the people belonging to different groups. He added that the census will help the government to take action in order to ascertain social justice and upliftment of all sections.
The Janata Dal (United) leader also called for an all-party meeting on Tuesday to share the details of Bihar caste census report and deliberate what further steps needed to be taken. Reports stated that nine parties are expected to participate in the meeting.
RJD president Lalu Yadav, who is Kumar’s ally also issued a statement noting that the exercise will set the tone for nationwide caste census which will be undertaken when they form the next government at the Centre.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh urged the centre to release the results of caste census. He added that holding caste-census has become essential for providing a firmer foundation for social empowerment programmes and for deepening social justice.
Madhya Pradesh: PM Modi lays foundation stone for projects worth Rs 19,000 crore in Gwalior
PM Modi underscored that the double engine government brought Madhya Pradesh among the top 10 states in terms of development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stones for projects worth more than Rs 19,000 crore in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh on Monday. Addressing a gathering in Gwalior, PM Modi said that their target is to ensure Madhya Pradesh emerges as one of the top three states, adding that the vote of the people of the state will help them achieve this goal.
He claimed that people who had 60 years could not bring development and always played with the sentiments of the poor and divided the society on the basis of caste. Asserting that the opposition have hatred towards growth because of their politics, PM Modi underlined that Madhya Pradesh has faith in the double engine government which means double development of the state.
He further noted that the next five years would be crucial for Madhya Pradesh’s development and that the double engine government is necessary in the state. He mentioned that nearly 2.25 lakh families will enter into their new homes before Dussehra, Dhanteras and Diwali this year in Madhya Pradesh.
The Prime Minister stated that under the government of vikas-virodhi (apparently referring to opposition), law and order collapses. He noted that beheading took place openly in Rajasthan. He asserted that in states ruled by the opposition, crime and corruption have increased.
PM Modi underscored that the double engine government brought Madhya Pradesh among the top 10 states in terms of development. In addition, he hailed that Gwalior-Chambal has given bravehearts for the security of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi further guaranteed that India will be one of the top three economies in the world in the next few years. The Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be carried out in Madhya Pradesh in or before November 2023. Earlier in the day, PM Modi addressed a rally in poll bound Rajasthan.
Congress left no stone unturned to loot Rajasthan: PM Modi in Chittorgarh rally
PM Modi asserted that the paper leak mafia will be held accountable and will be given harshest punishment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a scathing attack on Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the infighting of Congress in the state. He slammed the state government over multiple issues, including crime against women. He claimed that the Congress government in the state has left no stone unturned to loot Rajasthan.
Addressing a public rally in Chittorgarh in poll-bound Rajasthan, PM Narendra Modi stated that the state has decided to save themselves by bringing back the BJP government. He asserted that the Congress formed the government by misleading people but could not run it, adding that CM Gehlot was busy saving his chair, whereas half of the Congress leaders were actively trying to unseat him.
The Prime Minister further claimed that CM Ashok Gehlot has accepted defeat and is requesting BJP to not stop schemes. He assured that on coming to power in Rajasthan, BJP will not stop any public scheme but will try to improve it. He also accused the Ashok Gehlot led Congress government of destroying the state in the last five years by not taking adequate steps to combat crime against women.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed that it pains him that the state tops in the crime list. He continued that he is pained when atrocities take place against daughters anywhere in the country but Congress has made this a tradition in Rajasthan. He added that the message of people of Rajasthan has reached Congress leaders and that the Chief Minister is also aware that the countdown of Congress government’s farewell has begun.
Speaking on the alleged paper leak issue, PM Modi asserted that the paper leak mafia will be held accountable and will be given harshest punishment. He noted that they will go to the bottom of the paper leak matter and actions will be taken against those who have committed corruption and looted money of the poor.
While addressing the gathering in the poll bound Rajasthan, PM Modi underlined that they are witnessing how leaders of Congress alliance are issuing derogatory remarks about women. He claimed that the alliance is very angry with the Women’s Reservation Act and that they don’t want women to get their rights.
He remarked that there is only one face in elections and that is (Kamal) lotus. The 2023 Rajasthan Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held in or before November.