PM for simultaneous LS, Assembly elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in favour of simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, even as the Uttarakhand government teeters on the brink of dissolution before its term is up. At a closed door meeting of the BJP’s national office bearers on March 19 in New Delhi, just before the party’s national executive meet was kicked off, Mr. Modi spoke in laudatory terms for simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.

The Hindu spoke to at least three office bearers of the party who were present at the meeting who confirmed this and said that Mr. Modi’s remarks were in the context of administrative issues arising out of frequent and successive elections in various states. “The Prime Minister was concerned that the way the electoral calendar of the country is set up, there are polls every year in some part of the country or the other. With the Model Code of Conduct coming into force in one State or the other and even for the Centre in some cases, this leads to administrative lethargy, and issues,” said a senior general secretary of the party. “This was just referred to as a desirable thing, but no credible plan to take it forward was proposed,” said the office bearer. The Prime Minister, sources confirmed, referred to the 78th report of the parliamentary standing committee of Law and Justice that had been asked to go into the issue in detail. The report was submitted in December 2015.

The committee recommended a two-phase election schedule to make the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls coterminous, but had raised uneasiness in different political parties. The Congress and the Trinamool Congress had rejected the proposal as being unfeasible, while the AIADMK asked for fixed dates for polls and not at the whims of the Election Commission.

The first general elections to the Lok Sabha was held simultaneously with all State Assemblies in 1951-52. That practice continued in three subsequent general elections held in the years — 1957, 1962 and 1967. However, due to the premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969, the cycle got disrupted. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely and fresh elections were held in 1971. The term of the fifth Lok Sabha was extended till 1977 under Article 352. After that, the eighth, tenth, fourteenth and fifteenth Lok Sabha could complete their five year terms. The sixth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth ones were dissolved prematurely.

As a result of premature dissolutions and extension of terms of both the Lok Sabha and various State Assemblies, the last 48 years have seen separate elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 7:49:58 AM |

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