Law Commission to discuss simultaneous polls with parties

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New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The Law Commission has invited all the national and recognised state political parties to hold consultations on July 7-8 on the practicality of conducting simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

The Commission has prepared a draft paper on “Simultaneous Elections – Constitutional and Legal Perspectives” and has sought opinions of “all stakeholders” including political parties, constitutional experts, bureaucrats, academia etc on the paper before finalising its report and sending it to the government.

However, it has not elicited a response from any political party, including the national parties – Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Trinamool Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Communist Party of India, and the Nationalist Congress Party – all of who are in the opposition right now.

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These parties have generally dismissed the suggestion mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an alleged ploy by him to divert attention from other, more important, issues.

In its draft, the law panel has recommended several amendments to the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1950 to facilitate and sustain the simultaneous polls.

It recommended a “constructive vote of no-confidence” to replace the “no-confidence motion” wherein the members would have to suggest an alternative to the government they express ‘no trust’ in.

Also, the paper suggested removing anti-defection law if the election throws up a hung house, among other things.

The paper has recommended holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls simultaneously in two phases beginning 2019. The state assemblies whose terms are ending near (prior or later than) 2019 are to be included in the first phase.

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The second phase can happen along with the in 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it said.

The Election Commission has repeatedly said it was capable of holding simultaneous elections provided the legal framework and logistics were in place.

Most of the political parties have, however, not warmed up to the idea citing various reasons besides arguing that it would not be good for democracy.

–IANS

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