Law panel to hold consultations with political parties on simultaneous polls


File Photo  PTI

File Photo. PTI

The Law Commission will hold a two-day consultation with major political parties in New Delhi this week on the possibility of holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls together. Seeking to find a common ground on the issue, the commission has written to the seven recognised national and 59 state parties to participate in the meeting on July 7 and 8.

The law panel’s previous attempt to seek the views of the political parties on the issue had evoked no response.

None of the political parties had responded to the Law Commission’s “working paper” on holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

The proposal is being pushed by the central government. BJP, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), TMC, BSP and NCP are the national parties recognised by the Election Commission.

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.

The second phase of simultaneous polls can take place in 2024, the document states.

The document has proposed amending the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act to shorten or extend the terms of state legislative assemblies to effect the move.

The states, which are recommended to be covered under phase-I, are where assembly polls are due by 2021.

States which will come under phase-II are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. To hold elections in these states along with LS polls, the terms of the assemblies have to be extended.

Based on a suggestion made by the Election Commission, the working paper says that a no-confidence motion against the government should be followed by a confidence motion.

This would ensure that if the opposition does not have the numbers to form an alternative government, the regime in office cannot be removed.

Recently, Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat had a word of caution on simultaneous polls. He said the legal framework required for holding the two elections together will take a lot of time to get ready.

“We cannot put the cart before the horse. Logistical issues are subservient to legal framework. Unless legal framework is in place, we dont have to talk about anything else because legal framework will take a lot of time, making constitutional amendment to (changing) the law, all the process will take time,” he said.

He said once the legal framework is ready, the EC will deliver. “EC is a creation of the Constitution. We have to perform willy-nilly, deliver the election, whatever way prescribed in the law,” he said.