The Law Commission and the Election Commission are scheduled to meet on 16th May to discuss simultaneous elections in India according to news reports. This idea of simultaneous elections is not new in India. India for the first four of its general elections from 1952-1967 followed the proposed line of a simultaneous election where the electorate elected the state assembly and the central government representatives.
The need for simultaneous elections was also brought up by The Law Commission of India in its 117th report on Reform and Electoral Law (1999). It will ensure that no government development schemes get halted due to the imposition of Model Code of Conduct as a state enters an election cycle and also the loss of productivity that comes with such an undertaking. It will also drastically reduce the manpower and resource deployment needed for conducting elections.
There are of course many hurdles that need to be sorted before achieving the said results. Political consensus among different political parties remains the biggest challenge and this initiative also requires a constitutional amendment which may be subject to judicial inquiry.
Despite all of this, Narendra Modi may very well be able to walk the talk. The Lok Sabha election in 2019 may turn out to be a mini showcase of simultaneous elections, with a few variables of course. There are five states slated to go into polls alongside the Lok Sabha general elections. These states are –
- Andhra Pradesh goes to poll tentatively on- 18.06.2019
- Arunachal Pradesh goes to poll tentatively on 01.06.2019
- Odisha goes to poll tentatively on 11.06.2019,
- Sikkim goes to poll tentatively on 27.05.2019 and
- Telangana goes to poll tentatively on 08.06.2019.
There are four other states whose elections, if postponed for 6 or lesser, can also be conducted simultaneously –
- Rajasthan goes to poll tentatively on 20.01.2019.
- Madhya Pradesh goes to poll tentatively on 07.01.2019.
- Mizoram goes to poll tentatively on 15.12.2018.
- Chattisgarh goes to poll tentatively on 05.01.2019.
There are another three states whose elections, if brought forward for six or lesser, can be conducted simultaneously –
- Haryana goes to poll tentatively on 02.11.2019.
- Jharkhand goes to poll tentatively on 05.01.2020.
- Maharashtra goes to poll tentatively on 09.11.2019.
There are also three states with very unstable assemblies and there is a possibility that they could be dissolved in the future, Jammu & Kashmir, Goa and Tamil Nadu. All three states have a significant influence of the BJP in the incumbent state governments.
All the above stated indicates that there is a chance that India could witness fifteen states going to poll simultaneously with the Lok Sabha general elections in 2019, without any need for constitutional amendments or otherwise.