BJP set to give fresh push to ‘One Nation – One Election’ agenda

New Delhi: Confident of doing well and only about eight months to go for the general elections, the ruling BJP on Monday would yet again press for simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

A party delegation comprising key leaders, including Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, will meet Chairman of Law Commission Justice B S Chauhan and press for the same, a party source said here.

Other leaders include Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Bhupender Yadav and Anil Baluni – all Members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha.

Simultaneous elections to state legislatures and Lok Sabha have been one of the principal issues being pushed by the BJP leadership and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself since 2014. The proponents of the idea have been insisting that such a measure can help in doing away with populist measures for the political leaderships both at the central and state levels and also save lot of time and money.

However, besides opposition parties, the move has not quite been accepted by the BJP allies also.

On July 7, in a minor embarrassment to BJP, its ally in Goa also opposed the idea.

Goa Forward Party president Vijay Sardesai, who is also Agriculture Minister in BJP-led government in the state, told Law Commission during a consultative meeting that “Even if we are a BJP ally in Goa, we are opposing it. The idea sounds good…there are a few nominal benefits as well but the proposal for simultaneous elections is in effect against the spirit of federalism, which is a fundamental feature of our Constitution”.

N Chandrababu-led TDP, which was part of NDA till March this year, also has opposed it.

The Law Commission’s draft paper titled “Simultaneous Elections – Constitutional and Legal Perspectives” has recommended amendments to the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1950 to facilitate and sustain the concept of simultaneous polls.

The Trinamool Congress and the CPI have have disapproved the concept saying such an idea is against federal structure of the Constitution.

However, the Bodoland People’s Front of Assam has welcomed the initiative.

Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently backed the idea.

The Congress party in its political resolution adopted after party plenary on March 17 in Delhi this year had said, “The BJP’s move for simultaneous elections is misplaced”.

The resolution adopted at the first plenary of the party after Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress president also had said, “The idea will have serious implications, which must be thoroughly inquired into and a national consensus built”.

However, on July 7, Congress spokesman RPN Singh had said, “The Congress will be in touch with all Opposition parties and we will exchange notes and then we will take a decision on the ongoing processes involved”.

The Law Commission had already written to the seven recognised national and 59 state parties to give their views on the matter.

Elections to four states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – all BJP ruled – and Mizoram under Congress are to go for assembly polls by this November.

Pushing for ‘One Nation – One Election’ agenda by the BJP comes at a time when it is about to launch a rather aggressive ‘social justice fortnight’ from August 15 to 30.

The programme, which is being taken up at the directives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will seek to make deeper inroads among OBCs, SC-STs and also highlight Modi government’s legislative initiatives.

The BJP leaders during the 15-day long programme in every state covering rural pockets, will also speak on Triple Talaq Bill that makes instant divorce to Muslim women a criminal offence.

Successful passing of crucial Bills during the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament providing constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (also known as OBC Commission) and restoring provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 are seen as major achievements of the NDA-led dispensation.


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