At NITI Aayog meet, PM Modi pitches for debate on simultaneous polls once again

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again on Sunday raised the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, calling for a wider debate on the matter.

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Modi was addressing the fourth meeting of the governing council of the federal think tank NITI Aayog that was attended by 23 chief ministers and one Lieutenant Governor, and also by several Union ministers who are members of the council.

The Election Commission (EC) and the Law Commission of India are both examining the issue.

“The Prime Minister called for widespread debate and consultations on simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas, keeping in view various aspects such as the resulting financial savings and consequent better utilisation of resources,” an official release for the half-day long meeting said.

NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the Prime Minister noted that the country remains in “perpetual election mode” and pitched for holding simultaneous elections to elect legislators to the Parliament and state assemblies.

To begin with, Kumar said, Modi suggested there could be “at least one uniform voter list for all elections”.

He said even the exercise of preparing the electoral rolls for the three-tier elections — municipal, state and country — consumes considerable time and money and is an elaborate exercise. The think tank had last year suggested synchronised, two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly polls from 2024 so as to ensure minimum ‘campaign-mode’ disruption to governance.

The report was taken up by the Law Commission for examining the issue, which came up with a draft working paper in April seeking sweeping changes in election laws and the Constitution to enable the holding of elections simultaneously. The commission is now in the process of speaking with stakeholders, including experts and political parties, before coming up with a final report.

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