Rama Krishna Sangem
Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s push for One Nation, One Poll Bill appears to be a long term plan. It’s timing of introduction in the special session of Parliament from September 18-22 may lend it some urgency, by the time the Bill becomes an Act and its actual implementation may take sufficient time – maybe by 2029 Lok Sabha elections.
One Nation, One Election policy push may also not be possible immediately. Going by the calculated steps by the Centre in the last few days and the unfolding “actions and reactions” to it, this policy make take longer time, than the expected 6 to 9 months. So, a Bill which is likely to be introduced in the coming special session of parliament will only be a policy posturing of the BJP government.
“This actually may be implemented from the next Lok Sabha elections, say, 2029,” said a BJP Rajya Sabha MP while talking to Excel India on September 3, Sunday. He, like many other seniors in BJP, is not in the know of things on this Bill related developments. After talking to four to five sources in New Delhi, what I gathered is that the One Poll Bill is still being prepared or in rough draft stages.
A final draft maybe ready by September 12 o 13, when the Centre will be out of the heat and dust of the G-20 summit (September 9 &10). The constitution of a heavy duty committee led by former president Ram Nath Kovind and its composition with Home Minister Amit Shah and others point to a prolonged activity. “After all, a panel led by a former President of India cannot be asked to submit its report in a few months,” said the BJP MP.
Lot of procedural challenges
Experts who handled this issue in the past say that the idea of holding simultaneous elections to all bodies – right from Lok Sabha to 28 state assemblies and thousands of municipalities and lakhs of gram panchayats – may not be that easy or simple. Moreover, that is not required too. India is a vast country that runs on parliamentary democracy with a lot of federal structures- from assemblies to local bodies.
Holing elections to them all at one go is neither possible nor advisable, is the opinion expressed by several legal and constitutional pundits. Even if we hold simultaneous polls to them all, the advantage will be marginal or nil. On the other hand, assemblies and local bodies will lose their local flavour. If they all are clubbed with Lok Sabha polls, naturally national issues will dominate the polls.
That is not good. Even if local issues dominate the Lok Sabha elections, that will also be not good for the country. “In fact, national issues should dominate Lok Sabha elections, and local issues issues should dominate assemblies and local bodies. It is very bad to club them all,” said a former union secretary who spoke to Excel India, but preferred not to be quoted. Moreover, the road to the Bill passage and execution is ridden with lot many procedural challenges.