Kovind-headed committee to explore ‘One Nation, One Poll’ possibility

Term of 10 Assemblies to end before 2024 elections

NEW DELHI, Sept 1: The Government has constituted a committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of “One Nation, One Election”, opening the possibility of Lok Sabha polls being advanced so that they could be held with a string of state assembly contests.
Sources said today that Kovind will explore the feasibility of the exercise and the mechanism to see as to how the country can go back to having simultaneous Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls, as was the case till 1967.
He is expected to speak to experts and may also consult leaders of different political parties, they said.
The Government’s decision comes a day after it decided to call a special session of Parliament between September 18 and 22, the agenda for which is under wraps.
Since coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a strong votary for the idea of simultaneous polls, which include those at local bodies, citing financial burden caused by almost continuous election cycle and jolt to development work during the polling period.
Kovind too had echoed Modi’s view and expressed his support to the idea after becoming President in 2017.
Addressing Parliament, he had said in 2018, “Frequent elections not only impose a huge burden on human resources but also impede the development process due to the promulgation of the model code of conduct.”
Like Modi, he had called for a sustained debate and expressed hope that all political parties arrive at a consensus on this issue.
With the Modi Government approaching end of its second term, there is a view in its top echelon that it can no longer let the issue drag on and needs to move decisively to underscore its purposefulness after debating on the topic for years.
With the ruling BJP under Modi always animated by grander themes and big ticket ideas to rally popular support, the issue will also suit the party politically and catch the opposition off-guard, leaders in the party believe.
The terms of at least 10 State Assemblies will end before or around the scheduled time for the general elections in 2024.
While Assembly elections in five states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh — are due by the end of this year, polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Jharkhand are likely to be held along with the Lok Sabha elections.
The tentative schedule of the completion of the terms for various States and Union Territories are listed below.
1. Mizoram: December 2023.
2. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana: January 2024.
3. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim: June 2024.
4. Haryana, Maharashtra: November 2024.
5. Jharkhand: December 2024.
6. Delhi: February 2025.
7. Bihar: November 2025.
8. Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal: May 2026
9. Puducherry: June 2026.
10.Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand: March 2027
11.Uttar Pradesh: May 2027.
12. Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh: December 2027 .
13. Meghalaya, Nagaland,
Tripura: March 2028 .
14. Karnataka: May 2028.
There is still no clarity on the completion of the term of Jammu and Kashmir UT, which was formed after the erstwhile Assembly was dissolved in 2018.
Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said today there are “important items” on the agenda of the Special Session of Parliament convened from September 18 to 22 and it will be circulated “very shortly”.
He declined to comment on the items on the agenda and said it’s in “final stage” of preparation.
“Parliament session we have called and there are important items. The agenda will be circulated very shortly”, Joshi said by telephone when contacted for comment.
“There is enough time, and required mandatory time for the circulation of agenda will be followed”, the Minister said. (PTI)