New Delhi: The High-Level Committee (HLC) on "One Nation One Election" (ONE), chaired by former President Ram Nath Kovind, convened today with representatives from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) to gather their views on the proposal for simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Jasmine Shah expressed strong opposition to the idea of simultaneous polls on social media, citing diluted voter accountability as a key concern. He emphasized that "the tenets of the constitution and democracy cannot be sacrificed for narrow financial gains or administrative convenience." Shah further criticized the consultation process, calling it "flawed" due to the absence of a concrete policy draft.
While details of RPI's stance haven't been officially released, reports suggest they support the concept with certain conditions. Their position highlights the diverse range of opinions within the political landscape regarding ONE.
The HLC has previously interacted with representatives from the Communist Party of India, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This ongoing consultation process aims to capture the full spectrum of viewpoints before presenting its recommendations.
The idea of ONE, although not entirely new (simultaneous elections were held in the past), raises several complex questions. Concerns surrounding potential constitutional amendments, logistical challenges, and potential impact on regional aspirations require careful consideration.
Reports indicate the government's intention to introduce a ONE Bill in Parliament. With diverse viewpoints emerging, the proposal's fate and its potential impact on India's electoral landscape remain uncertain.
The HLC's consultations will continue with other political parties and stakeholders, aiming to gather diverse perspectives before submitting its recommendations to the government. The final decision on ONE remains to be seen, but the varied opinions expressed thus far indicate a complex and potentially contentious debate ahead.
The HLC, comprising Dr. N.K. Singh and Sanjay Kothari, reportedly held personal interactions with both parties' representatives. This follows earlier consultations with the Communist Party of India (CPI), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)).
The government constituted the HLC in September 2023 to explore the feasibility of ONE. Reports suggest the Centre aims to introduce a related Bill in Parliament. ONE is not a novel concept; India held simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections in 1951-52, 1957, 1962, and 1967.