Advancing Simultaneous Elections in India: Reform Recommendations

Panel Recommends Roadmap for Simultaneous Elections in India - Illustration depicting the blueprint for simultaneous elections recommended for governance reform
Advancing Simultaneous Elections in India: Reform Recommendations [Source:]

A comprehensive strategy for transitioning to simultaneous elections for all tiers of government in India has been proposed by a distinguished committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind. The committee, comprising 22 members, has submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu, outlining a clear roadmap aimed at enhancing governance, curbing election expenditure, and reducing disruptions caused by frequent polls.

The committee's recommendations entail a two-stage process:

Stage One: Aligning Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections

The initial phase involves aligning the election schedules of the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. This alignment would be achieved through a one-time transitory measure, where an appointed date following a Lok Sabha election would be identified by the Union government. State assemblies with terms set to expire after this appointed date would synchronize their tenures with that of the Lok Sabha. Consequently, some state assemblies may have shortened terms as a one-time measure to facilitate this alignment.

Stage Two: Integrating Local Body Polls

The subsequent phase focuses on integrating elections for local bodies, including municipalities and panchayats, into the synchronized cycle. The committee proposes that these grassroots-level polls be conducted within 100 days of the unified Lok Sabha and assembly elections. To facilitate this integration, the committee suggests the introduction of a new constitutional provision, Article 324A, empowering Parliament to enact laws ensuring simultaneous local body polls. Additionally, the amendment of Article 325 of the Constitution would allow the Election Commission of India, in consultation with State Election Commissions, to prepare a common electoral roll and issue a single Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) for all elections.

Key Recommendations Summary

  • Synchronize Lok Sabha and state assembly elections through a one-time transitory measure.
  • Conduct municipal and panchayat elections within 100 days of synchronized Parliament and assembly polls.
  • Amend Constitution to enable a common electoral roll and a single voter ID card for all elections.
  • Introduce a new constitutional provision (Article 324A) empowering Parliament to ensure simultaneous local body polls.
  • In the event of mid-term polls, hold fresh elections only for the remainder of the term to maintain synchronicity.

While the committee’s recommendations offer a detailed roadmap for transitioning to simultaneous elections, the ultimate decision lies with the political leadership and the citizens of India.

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