One Nation, One Poll: More Questions Than Answers
Who benefits from simultaneous polls?
Political consensus is crucial to implement simultaneous polls, according to former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi.
“From the Election Commission’s point of view, the convenience is enormous,” Qureshi told BloombergQuint even as he pointed out that the number of electronic voting machines needed would be doubled in the event of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections. What is more important, though, is political consensus, he added.
I am happy that PM is not thrusting it [simultaneous elections] on people . He is trying for a consensus which is not easy to come but it is very important.SY Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind have pushed for simultaneous polls once in five years instead of frequent, simultaneous elections at the Centre and in the states.
A political consensus is crucial since a constitutional amendment would be required to implement simultaneous polls. A two thirds majority is required in both houses to amend the Constitution. But Opposition parties are wary of the plan being pushed by the Prime Minister. Member of Parliament from the Biju Janata Dal, Tathagata Satpathy, said by making such a demand, Modi is banking on his popularity.
The problem is one gentleman thinks in today’s circumstances that he is the sole person who people look up to and vote for the party.Tathagat Satpathy, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Biju Janata Dal Leader
The other practical difficulty arise if the government at the Centre loses majority in the middle of its term. A parliamentary standing committee has recommended that polls be held every two and a half years as an alternative to elections once in five years. Another solution is to have a ‘no confidence’ motion followed by a vote on an alternative.
A provision should be created where if a Prime Minister of a chief minister is being rejected, an alternative should be presented as well, which would be a ‘slight tweak’ of the democratic process, said senior political journalist R Jagannathan.