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Ex- President Ram Nath Kovind head new panel on the concept of ‘One Nation, one Election’

New Delhi: A new step towards the ‘one nation, one election’ concept has been taken by the Center, as it has established a committee to investigate the matter and present a report. Former President Ram Nath Kovind will lead the panel.

This development follows the announcement made by the Center a day prior about a special session of the Parliament scheduled from September 18 to 22. Since this surprising declaration, speculations have arisen concerning the potential presentation of a ‘one nation, one election’ bill during the session. However, the government has yet to confirm this speculation.

The ‘one nation, one election’ proposal envisions the synchronization of Lok Sabha and state assembly elections nationwide. Both the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed their views on this matter on multiple occasions. Notably, this idea was also part of the BJP’s agenda for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Prior to 1967, India regularly held simultaneous elections, conducting four such elections. This practice ceased after some state assemblies were prematurely dissolved in 1968-69. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was dissolved a year ahead of schedule for the first time, leading to mid-term elections in 1971.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha Election Manifesto, the BJP committed to pursuing electoral reforms to weed out criminals from politics. The manifesto stated, “The BJP is committed to initiate electoral reforms to eliminate criminals. The BJP will seek, through consultation with other parties, to evolve a method of holding Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously. Apart from reducing election expenses for both political parties and Government, this will ensure certain stability for State Governments. We will also look at revising expenditure limits realistically.”

Prime Minister Modi addressed the idea of simultaneous elections in 2016. Additionally, shortly after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he convened an all-party meeting to discuss this proposal, although several opposition parties opted not to attend.

The Prime Minister has contended that frequent elections strain the nation’s resources and disrupt governance continuity.

Reacting to the committee’s establishment, Communist Party of India General Secretary D Raja conveyed to NDTV that the BJP seems preoccupied with uniformity in the nation. He remarked, “One nation, one election is not a new issue. It has been discussed for several years. Ever since the BJP came to power, it has been obsessed with one nation, one culture; one nation, one religion; one nation, one language; one nation, one tax; now one nation, one election; then one nation, one party; one nation, one leader. That is the obsession the BJP is suffering from.”

He added, “Dr Ambedkar said Parliament is supreme in our democracy, but the BJP is undermining Parliament. Increasingly, our Parliament is becoming redundant. But they called a special session. Nobody knows what the purpose is. Ever since the opposition parties came together under the INDIA banner, the BJP has been jittery and desperate. Mr Modi is jittery.”

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