CEC revives debate on parallel elections
Mint, December 30, 2015
Elections to the Lok
Sabha and state assemblies should be held simultaneously, Chief
Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, reviving a debate on the
proposal less than a fortnight after a parliamentary standing
committee recommended it.
Experts feel that
the biggest challenge to simultaneous polls lies in getting the
party political consensus needed to bring an amendment in the
implemented, they say, it could make for a better system than
the current one. Among other things, it would mean that the
tenure of the various state assemblies in the country would be
brought in the same cycle as the Lok Sabha.
According to a
report in the Hindustan Times from Amritsar, Zaidi told
reporters on Monday that the commission strongly favours holding
general elections and state polls together as this would save
money, time and energy.
?However, there must
be a consensus among all leading political parties on it and
only then the commission can move forward,? he was quoted as
saying. Zaidi was visiting Punjab to review the status of
electoral rolls in the poll-bound state.
basically mean that all the elections?national and state?happen
in the country together. It cannot happen until the law is
amended. This could be done by bringing all the terms of the
states around a single date and then holding polls,? an official
from the Election Commission said, requesting anonymity.
issue on the anvil is the cycle of lead and lag between the
Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, often highlighted by some political
leaders. The election of Rajya Sabha members from individual
states has its own cycle and is not timed with Lok Sabha polls
or with the formation of a new government. For instance, members
of Rajya Sabha from a particular state do not reflect the
strength of a newly elected government at the centre, but that
of the government last elected in that state. While there is no
official proposal with the EC in this regard, there is a debate
gave a mixed response to a report on simultaneous elections by
the standing committee on law and personnel tabled in Parliament
in the justconcluded winter session, while the EC listed
?several difficulties? in accepting such a proposal.
The committee said
it did not feel simultaneous five-yearly elections could be held
?in the near future?. But it appeared to advocate an incremental
approach, saying, ?slowly it would reach in stages for which the
tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be
curtailed or extended.?
According to the
report, while parties like the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam (AIADMK), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Indian Union Muslim
League (IUML), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supported the idea with some
suggestions, others including the Congress, Trinamool Congress,
Communist Party of India (CPI), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul
Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rejected
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