BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to build consensus for simultaneous elections in the country, the BJP on Wednesday held consultations with a cross section of people including intellectuals, professionals and legal experts.
Explaining the need for wider consultations for ‘One Nation One Election’, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said frequent elections held in different states of the country are taking a heavy toll on the economy and become a stumbling block in the economic growth.
A report states that a 14-day-long election in a year is causing a loss of around $ 110 billion to the GDP, she said. “We had the model of ‘one nation one election’ from 1952 to 1967. The system derailed due to indiscriminate use of Article 356 (President’s Rule) by the then government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted the idea for a simultaneous election of Lok Sabha and Assemblies for the benefit of the nation,” she said.
As per the report of the Association of Democratic Reforms, the total expenditure in 1951 was Rs 11 crore which jumped up to Rs 60,000 crore in the 2019 General Election.In 2016, the government think tank, Niti Aayog in a discussion paper, ‘Analysis of Simultaneous Elections: The What, Why and How’, also lent support to the idea of simultaneous elections, stating that frequent polls change the focus of policy making because “short-sighted populist” and “politically safe” measures are accorded higher priority over difficult structural reforms.
Sarangi said that the BJP had mentioned ‘one nation, one election’ in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.“It is not a new idea, with the Election Commission having mooted it in 1983. The Law Commission, in its report in 1999, backed the proposal. The NITI Aayog too did its bit on the issue, preparing a working paper,” Sarangi said.
With Constitutional amendments needed to implement ‘one nation, one election’, she said the BJP is trying to evolve a political consensus on the issue.Participating in the webinar, MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and national BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra clarified the intent of the discussion and responded to queries from the participants.