Press Trust of india

Parties cold to law panel consultation on simultaneous polls

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New Delhi, May 28 (PTI) None of the seven recognised national and 59 state parties have responded to the Law Commission’s consultation on the ‘working paper’ on holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, a proposal being pushed by the government.

May 8 was last date of submitting response. Among the prominent people who have responded to the document are V Narayanasamy in his capacity as Puducherry chief minster  and former chief election commissioner H S Brahma.

BJP, Congress, CPI, CPI-M, Trinamool Congress, BSP and NCP are the national parties recognised by the Election Commission (EC).

Highly-placed sources in the Commission said Narayanasamy was of the view that simultaneous polls cannot be held without amending the Constitution. He said any move to amend the Constitution to extend or reduce the term of the state assemblies would be against the federal structure.

Brahma has supported the idea of holding the two sets of elections together, the sources said.

Seeking to give shape to the government’s concept of ‘one nation, one election’, the Law Commission’s internal working paper has recommended holding of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls 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 in 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 also 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 numbers to form an alternative government, the regime in office cannot be removed.

Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat had a word of caution on simultaneous polls when he recently said that the legal framework required for holding of 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 don’t 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 had said.

He had 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 had said.

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