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politics | IST

Law commission endorses proposal for simultaneous polls: Here's what experts have to say

Holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies is a solution to prevent the country from being in constant election mode, the law commission on Thursday in its draft report and recommended changes in the Constitution and the electoral law to hold the mammoth exercise.
The draft report submitted to the law ministry recommended “holding of simultaneous elections to House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the State Legislative Assemblies (except the State of Jammu and Kashmir). "
The commission said the country is perpetually in election mode and governance always takes a back seat. "If we want to save money, improve governance and reduce pressure on security agencies then simultaneous elections are the way forward," it said.
The reports suggested three options in favour of the idea but it also adds that simultaneous polls are not possible under the current constitutional framework.
At least 13 parties have backed the idea and as many have opposed it. CNBC-TV18 caught up with Fuad Halim leader of CPI(M), Narendra Taneja, BJP spokesperson, T S Krishnamurthy former CEC, Rohan Gupta, spokesperson of Congress to discuss the law commissions report.
T S Krishnamurthy:
  Theoretically it is a very attractive proposition from the point of view of the management of elections because these days there is too much of muscle power, money power, hatred and violence and this continues for every election.
If we can find out a method by which we can avoid this too much hatred, violence, money power and muscle power, it may be a good idea to have simultaneous elections. Unfortunately, the constitutional position as it is now, it is not possible to implement unless it is amended.
However, if we can have all the election reforms by which you can avoid muscle power, money power, violence and hatred, there may not be a need for simultaneous elections. It is justifiable on the ground that you will save time, it will allow the governments to function.
Rohan Gupta: If you see the Indian Constitution, we have a system of Lok Sabha election, we have a system of assembly elections and we have a system of local body elections. Why this system is in place is because each election is fought on a different kind of issues. Local elections are fought for local issues, state elections are fought on regional issues and Lok Sabha elections are fought on national issues.
When you are clubbing all the elections, there will be over focus on national issues and people who want good governance around them in form of smaller councillors or MLAs will lose that opportunity.
Narendra Taneja: The point is that when you attack institutions, I don't really think it helps you or it helps democracy. You can have your points of disagreement, but the Law Commission is saying something you can also disagree. But don't attack, don't say that they are doing at the behest of any political party whether it is BJP or any other political party.
I don't really think it helps democracy at all. Point is that the BJP has a certain point of view which we have talked about at various levels including with the Prime Minister.
We have our view, you have the right to disagree with it that is the democracy is all about. The election commission has come out with its own view. Different political parties are coming out with their own views. You can express your views and you can go to law commission, you could go wherever, you go to the biggest court - the people of India. That is how democracy works. But if you say that you disagree with us, you say that BJP is plotting something if that is what you are trying to say that is highly unfair. That is highly undemocratic.
Fuad Halim: Primarily, one has to understand that the Law Commission is an executive body of the government of India and it is formed by people nominated by the centre. It is neither an elected body nor a body which has been mandated by the people of India directly.
Hence, I see the opinion of the Law Commission of India being an extension of the political understanding of the BJP at this point if time. Now, this idea and attitude has a very dangerous logical end because if you are saying you want to reduce money power and muscle power in elections then the best way to actually it in elections to have no election at all.
It is very clear if you don't have any elections then no scope for money power and muscle power. So, I think so this is a very dangerous attitude taken up by the political party and they are voicing themselves to the law commission.
The second point is one has to understand when India gained Independence we started off with a singular elections, the state elections and the central elections were held simultaneously. But why did this bifurcation happened? It happened because of the real situation on the ground.
We had times government in the centre which did not have the mandate of the people. We have had governments at the state level not enjoying the mandate of the majority of the people and hence the need for going for interim elections.
Now that is a very important constitutional right of the people. Because the government is formed after people exercise their opinion and their rights. Now that is going to be impinge. That is the singular focus of the law commission recommendations.