NEW DELHI: THE Niti Aayog has recommended conducting synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly elections from 2024 in “national interest”. The government think tank has said simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies will ensure minimum “campaign mode” disruption to governance. “This would require a maximum one-time curtailment or extension of some state assemblies,” the Niti Aayog said in its recent report.
The policy think tank has also suggested formation of a group of experts to devise a mechanism for proper implementation of the plan. It said a focused group of stakeholders comprising constitutional and subject matter experts, think tanks, government officials and representatives of political parties should come together to work out appropriate implementation-related details.
In its “Three Year Action Agenda, 2017-18 to 2019-20”, the Niti Aayog also said, “This may include drafting appropriate Constitution and statutory amendments, agreeing on a workable framework to facilitate transition to simultaneous elections, developing a stakeholder communication plan and various operational details.” It made the Election Commission the nodal agency to look into the suggestion and set a “timeline” of March 2018 for this purpose.
The Aayog’s recommendation assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former president Pranab Mukherjee had made a strong pitch for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
At the Diwali Milan event organised by the BJP last year, Modi had said, “There will be hesitation for some time. But, despite such dilemma, the public discourse should continue.” The PM had, however, said a decision on this cannot be imposed by the Centre.