In a significant response to the Central government's call for suggestions on simultaneous elections, a staggering "81% affirmed the idea," according to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice. The government had sought public input on potential changes to the legal and administrative framework for holding simultaneous elections, with responses accepted via email until January 15.
The high committee, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, convened on January 21 to address the issue. The committee, including prominent figures like Ghulam Nabi Azad and NK Singh, is tasked with examining the feasibility of simultaneous elections in India.
The government's initiative went beyond public engagement, extending invitations to 46 political parties. To date, 17 political parties have submitted their suggestions. Additionally, the committee engaged with the Election Commission of India and initiated consultations with various stakeholders, including eminent jurists, former Chief Justices, and industry bodies like FICCI and CII.
The press release highlighted the historical context, noting that elections to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies were predominantly simultaneous from 1951-52 to 1967. However, this practice was disrupted, leading to "massive expenditure" and the prolonged diversion of security forces and electoral officers from their primary duties.
The next meeting of the high-level committee is scheduled for January 27, indicating continued momentum in the exploration of simultaneous elections.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News writer, MIT ADT University