Amit Shah pitches for one nation, one election in letter to law commission

BJP president Amit Shah on Monday wrote to the law commission, pitching various benefits of holding simultaneous elections in the country.

In a letter to law commission chairman Justice Balveer Chauhan, Shah also offered a set of recommendations/discussion points for a “constructive” debate among all stakeholders on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s goal of “one nation, one election”.

Terming elections the basic pillar of a democratic polity, he noted that it has been seen that every year in some month or the other, there are polls scheduled for some state or the other, and this affects governance and administration.

In the five-year lifetime of a Lok Sabha, there are five to seven state assembly elections every year as well to various local self government bodies, and thus, the country remains in perpetual poll mode at either of these stages, he said. This not only leads to pressure on public funds but also diverts the attention of officials from ensuring the people’s welfare to only managing elections, he added.

Shah also pointed out that various political parties, depending on the likely date of elections, decide on various “short-sighted” and “populist” policies which affects governance, while the imposition of the model code of conduct before every election leads to a stop on policy decisions and development activities.

“It was startling to see that in Maharashtra in 2016-17, it was seen that the model of conduct was in place at various places for 307 out of the 365 days,” he said.

Citing President Ram Nath Kovind’s call for a regular, national discussion for simultaneous elections in the country and efforts by all political parties to reach a consensus on the issue, Shah also quoted his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee’s support for the measure.

He also rejected criticism that simultaneous elections would weaken federalism, contending this would actually strengthen it and provide more stability.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 17:20 IST

Updated: August 13, 2018 — 8:03 pm