New Delhi, Aug 13: BJP President Amit Shah on Monday wrote to the Law Commission of India, batting for simultaneous elections in the country, asserting that elections in states throughout the year affect the developmental works.
Shah’s advocacy for ‘One Nation, One Poll’ comes two days after Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash proposed holding one election a year as an alternative to Centre’s push for simultaneous elections. Also, it comes ahead of the assembly elections in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh due later this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“There is a need for a regular discourse on the simultaneous elections and all political parties need to come together on the matter,” Shah wrote in his letter to the Law Commission.
Shah said that due to the elections in states throughout the year, works of both the state and central government gets affected.
In his letter, the BJP president also quoted figures of the amount being spent by the government in conducting Lok Sabha elections, which has consistently increasing, and asserted that simultaneous elections will help in cutting down the electoral expenditure.
“Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,700 crore were spent in 2011 polls and Rs 4,000 crore in 2014 polls. One Nation, One Election would reduce the cost. This exercise has been successful in several countries,” BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav, who led the party delegation to hand over Shah’s letter to the Law Commission, was quoted by ANI as saying.
Shah said the claim that holding two sets of polls was against the federal structure of the country is a “baseless” argument.
On the contrary, he said, it would strengthen the federal structure of the country.
In his eight-page letter, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief said the opposition to simultaneous polls seems to be politically motivated.
The law panel, which is examining the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls, had sought the views of the political parties before finalising its report.
Both the BJP and Congress had stayed away from consultation organised by the commission in this regard last month.
The Congress had met the Commission top brass recently where it had opposed the concept of simultaneous polls.
CEC Om Prakash Rawat, on August 10, had proposed holding one election a year as an alternative and had said that the move would also prevent violations of Model Code of Conduct on social media, as the social media platforms can be ordered to not run any poll-related news 48 hours before the elections.
The Narendra Modi government has been batting for the ‘One Nation, One Poll’ idea ever since it came to power at the Centre in 2014.
Prime Minister Modi, while addressing the governing council of NITI Aayog in June this year, had called for a “widespread” debate on holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.