Ex-Prez Kovind to head panel to explore ‘one-nation, one-election’ idea


New Delhi, Sep 01, 2023, Special Correspondent

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New Delhi, Sep 1: The government has constituted a committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of “one nation, one election”, sources said on Friday.


The move comes a day after the government called a special session of Parliament between September 18 and 22, the agenda for which is under wraps.


Over the years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed strongly for the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, and the decision to task Kovind to look into it underscores the government’s seriousness as a host of elections approach.


Assembly polls are due in five states in November-December and they will be followed by the Lok Sabha elections in May-June next year.


However, certain recent moves by the government have thrown open the possibility of advancing the general elections and some state polls, which are scheduled after and with the Lok Sabha contest.


The Centre may bring ‘One Nation, One Election’ Bill in the special Parliament session. But many opposition leaders, currently in Mumbai, view the possibility of simultaneous polls as a “kite flying” exercise.


A ‘One Nation, One Election’ bill, Uniform Civil Code, a women’s reservation bill, population control legislation, or a universal income scheme – it’s matter of speculation as to what will feature in the special Parliament session convening between September 18 and 22.


The suspense will likely end only when Speaker Om Birla convenes a meeting of the Business Advisory Panel, a 15-member group that includes members of the Opposition, where agenda papers are required to be circulated before the proposed session.


A full-majority government is within its rights to advance Lok Sabha polls. It does not require any parliamentary sanction to dissolve the 17th Lok Sabha prematurely.


The Special Parliamentary session, therefore, has to have some decorative or substantive legislative business, which needs about the next six months to fructify or bring electoral dividends.


In such a scenario, the Uniform Civil Code or a universal income scheme would be high on optics. Meanwhile, the Women’s Reservation Bill, population control legislation, and “One Nation, One Election” would come with the flip side and legal challenges.


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