UP Govt pushes for simultaneous polls to LS, assemblies

LUCKNOW, June 5: An Uttar Pradesh panel has recommended simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, echoing a suggestion by the Law Commission of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own view on the issue.
“In the first instance, we may have elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies to be held simultaneously and subsequently elections to the local bodies should also be joined with them,” the report submitted today to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath proposed.
The 23-page report was submitted by UP Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh, who headed the seven-member committee constituted by the chief minister.
“UP is the first state to push PM’s idea of national debate on holding all elections up to the panchayat together. We have examined it and it is possible,” Singh said after handing over the report titled, “One nation, one election & common electoral rolls.”
Adityanath later said, “We are forwarding the report to the Centre, and it will be good in the larger public interest.”
He added that to keep the electoral rolls clean, Aadhaar numbers should be linked with the names of voters to eliminate chances of duplication, as suggested by the committee.
Singh, who is also the state government spokesperson, said that as per the prime minister’s one-nation, one-election suggestion, the state favoured holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the legislative assembly.
The report said holding simultaneous elections would involve synchronising the election cycles of various state legislative assemblies with the Lok Sabha polls and making this synchronisation a permanent feature.
“It is evident that if the terms of state assemblies are to coincide with that of the Lok Sabha, then, in the first instance, the terms of some of the state assemblies would have to be curtailed and that of some other assemblies extended. For this, there has to be a reference date,” the report said.
It said the logical date would be the midway point between June 4, 2019, and June 3, 2024, which would be in November-December 2021.
“For simplicity and without compromising with the underlying logic, we can take that as December 31, 2021,” it said.
“This proposal would require amendments to the Constitution and statutes, detailed examination of which could be carried out once the principle is agreed upon,” the report said.
Local bodies, it said, may join the electoral cycle from 2029 by which time the systems would have become sufficiently evolved to deal with the additional logistical issues.
The committee noted that till 1967 elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies were held together.
It was only due to the political events around that time that the synchronous electoral cycle was broken and as time progressed the conduct of elections became more and more disjointed, it said.
On common electoral rolls, the committee said, “The concept is to have the same electoral rolls for elections to Lok Sabha/State Assembly or local bodies.”
“Once that happens the voter for all elections mentioned above will go to the same place, look up the same serial number, find his name and vote,” it said.
Birth and death registers should be computerised and linked to a centralized database so that in the event of death, a person’s name is automatically deleted from the rolls, the report said.
Presently, electoral rolls for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly are prepared under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission while the State Election Commission is responsible for the local bodies.
The Lok Sabha and the assembly elections are conducted through electronic voting machines (EVMs) while ballot papers are used for the local bodies’ elections. (PTI)