New Delhi, Apr 15: The government will seek opinion of the Election Commission on whether simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections can be held in multiple phases from 2019. The government will ask for the EC’s view after the submission of Law Commission’s report on simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. It has also sought the EC’s view on NITI Aayog’s recommendation for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in two phases.
The government wants EC’s view on simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to shape and strengthen its concept of ‘one nation, one election’, sources told news agency PTI. The Law Commission will hold a crucial meet on April 17 to discuss if clubbing the two elections if feasible. The panel is also expected to discuss from when the simultaneous elections can be held. Earlier, a document from the ministry has recommended holding simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies in two phases beginning 2019.
The document has proposed amending the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act to shorten or extend the terms of state legislative assemblies so that simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are held. The second phase of simultaneous polls can take place in 2024, the document states. The states which are recommended to be covered under phase I are where assembly polls are due in 2021. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
States which will come under phase II are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. To hold elections in these states along with Lok Sabha polls, the terms of the assemblies have to be extended. Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat had said that the legal framework required for holding of the two elections together will take a “lot of time” to get ready. He had said once the legal framework was ready, the EC will deliver.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pitching for conducting simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies. In an interview to Zee News in January this year, he said like festivals, the dates for polls should be fixed so that the politicians and the bureaucracy are not involved in the exercise of campaigning and holding elections throughout the year.