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Efforts for simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, assemblies intensified

The government has referred the matter to the Law Commission to study the issue so that a workable roadmap can be worked out.

Anjali Bhatia | New Delhi |

The Central government has intensified efforts to conduct simultaneous elections to the legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha in the country. The government has referred the matter to the Law Commission to study the issue so that a workable roadmap can be worked out.

The next elections to the Lok Sabha will be held almost two years later, in 2024, along with assembly elections for six states.

Earlier in the year 2018, the Law Commission, in its report, had said that there is such an atmosphere that warrants holding of elections to the legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha simultaneously in the country. The Commission had suggested at that time that after amending Article 83 (Term of Parliament), Article 172 (Term of Assembly) of the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, elections could be held simultaneously. This can save the country from being in a constant election mode.

The government has definitely given this issue to the Law Commission, but at present there is no chairman of the Law Commission and the term of the commission is going to expire in February 2023. The Law Commission is headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

Earlier in 2016, a Parliamentary Committee had also given its interim report on the matter. The government gave the report to the commission which is being seen as an important step. In the report, the committee had stressed the need for simultaneous elections, but said it may take a decade for all political parties and regions to agree on simultaneous elections.

The Central government has released Rs 5,794 crore from the year 2014 to 2020. In this period of six years, 50 assembly elections and two Lok Sabha elections have been held. As per the rules, the entire expenditure for the Lok Sabha elections is borne by the Central government while the cost of the assembly elections is borne by the respective state. The government says that if the elections are held simultaneously, this expenditure will be halved and the Central and the state governments will have to bear only half the expenditure.

As far as the Election Commission is concerned, it has already said that it has no problem in holding simultaneous elections. For this, he just has to increase the number of voting machines which he can do in a given time. Let us tell you that elections to the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha were held simultaneously from 1951 to 1967 in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying that by holding simultaneous elections, the country’s expenditure of crores of rupees can be saved, which happens due to continuous elections in one or the other state. At the same time, security forces also have to be sent repeatedly across the country, which affects their work. Development works are also affected due to the imposition of model election code of conduct.