Elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies were mostly held simultaneously from 1951-52 to 1967, after which the cycle got broken. Now elections are held almost every year and within a year too at different times.
A high-powered One Nation One Election committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday held its first meeting in national capital Delhi. The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and former Congress leader Gulab Nabi Azad among other members.
During the meeting, possibilities of holding simultaneous polls were explored with an eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The government had notified the eight-member committee on September 2 to examine the issue of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
Apart from the former President, the committee comprises Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Chairman of 15th Finance Commission N K Singh, former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C Kashyap, Senior Advocate Harish Salve and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari.
The Narendra Modi government has long been trying to push for simultaneous state and national elections and the decision to form a committee has come at a time when assembly polls in five states are due in the next three months.
Lok Sabha and Assembly elections used to be held simultaneously in India until 1967. However, some states assemblies were dissolved prematurely in 1968 and the practice was stopped. ‘One Nation One Elctions’ was also part of the ruling BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto.
The first high-leve meeting was also attended by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal as a special invitee. The Committee has been asked to “commence functioning immediately and make recommendations at the earliest.”