One Nation, One Election

The concept of “One Nation, One Election” is not new. In fact, as experts point out, it is as old as our Constitution.

After the Constitution was adopted in 1950, polls to the Lok Sabha and all state assemblies were held simultaneously every five years between 1951 and 1967.

India voted simultaneously for the Centre and states in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967.

The process ended as new states started emerging and some old ones were reorganised. It was completely discontinued after some legislative assemblies were dissolved in 1968-69.

The idea to revert to simultaneous polls was suggested in the annual report of the Election Commission in 1983. Later, the Law Commission report referred to it in 1999.

In 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-led government came to power, the party made a strong pitch for “one nation, one election”. The government also frequently talked about its intention to implement it.

The Law Commission in 2018 submitted a draft report backing the idea of simultaneous polls. The commission also recommended changes to the electoral laws and constitutional provisions and examined the legal and constitutional constraints.

The Law Commission says simultaneous elections can only be held through appropriate amendments to the Constitution. It also said that at least 50% of the states must ratify the constitutional amendment.

In 2019, BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, a former Rajya Sabha MP, was tasked by the party’s leadership with raising awareness about the concept of “one nation, one poll” and evaluating the idea. A  two-day seminar was organised and consultations took place. Later that year a report was submitted to the Prime Minister

 In 2020, while addressing the concluding session of the All India presiding officers conference, PM Modi again pitched for simultaneous polls across the nation and one voters’ list

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