Friday, 13 May 2016

Simultaneous Elections to the State Assemblies and the LokSabha are feasible, plausible and desirable

It is good that the issue of Simultaneous elections to the State Assemblies and the LokSabha is being debated, after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's opinion on the subject. I have read an article written by Shri S. Y. Qurashi, our ex-CEC, published in the Indian Express of April 4.
I beg to differ from Shri Qurashi's reasoning. From 1952 to 1967, elections to the State Assemblies and the LokSabha were held simultaneously. It was from 1971, when the then P. M. Shreemati Indira Gandhi, dissolved the LokSabha, a year earlier than its full term that changed the scheduled timetable. It is desirable to rerurn to the old arrangement. If it was feasible then, why should it not be so now? Simultaneous elections will not only save money, it will allow the executive apparatus to carry out its routine functions uninterruptedly.

To meet the emergencies

A question can be raised as to what will happen when any State Assembly is dissolved due to constitutional crisis and bye-election becomes inevitable? Will it not hinder the process of simultaneous elections? I have an answer for this emergency. The new State Assembly, will of course, be formed after bye-election. But in that event, the term of that Assembly will be limited to the residual period of its full five year term. This happens, when a bye-election in a certain constituency takes place, because of the death or resignation of a particular legislator. The winning candidate's term is restricted to the remaining period of the Assembly. The same rule will be applicable to the LokSabha also. In the case of State Assembly if the residual period is one year or less, there will be no bye-election. President's rule will come into operation. If the duration of the dissolved LokSabha is less than one year, there need not be bye-election. The same Govt. will continue as a caretaker Govt.
As for the elections to the Local Bodies, from Gram-Panchayat to Muncipalitis and Corporations, they need not be linked to the Assembly or LokSabha elections. Let each State take its own decision. Only condition can be that of concurrent elections to all the Local Bodies.

-M. G. Vaidya

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