Explore the formation of a high-level committee to examine ‘One Nation, One Election’ in India, its objectives, composition, and the concerns raised by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
The government has formed an eight-member high-level committee to examine the possibility of conducting simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats. Here’s an overview of the committee’s composition and objectives.
Composition of the Committee
The committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, includes notable members like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, and former Finance Commission chairman NK Singh. Other members are former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve, and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari.
The primary goal of the Kovind-led committee is to assess the feasibility of implementing the concept of ‘one nation, one election,’ where all elections occur simultaneously.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend committee meetings as a special invitee, while Legal Affairs Secretary Niten Chandra will serve as the panel’s secretary.
Areas of Examination
The committee will scrutinize and propose specific amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act, and other relevant laws and rules required to enable simultaneous elections. It will also consider whether these constitutional amendments need ratification by the States.
Handling Complex Scenarios
The committee will explore and recommend solutions for scenarios like hung Houses, adoption of no-confidence motions, defections, or other events that may arise during simultaneous elections. It will actively engage with individuals, representations, and communications to aid in its recommendations.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s Decision
However, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has declined to be part of the committee, expressing concerns about its terms of reference and the government’s motives. He believes the idea of simultaneous elections is constitutionally suspect and impractical.
One Nation, One Election’ Explained
The concept of ‘One Nation, One Election’ entails holding elections nationwide simultaneously, including both Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. Currently, these elections occur separately, with states following their unique electoral cycles. The committee’s formation comes at a time when some states are preparing for assembly elections, preceding the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, prompting discussions on the feasibility of synchronized elections.