The High-Level Committee (HLC) on ‘One Nation, One Election’ led by former Indian President Ram Nath Kovind submitted its report on simultaneous elections in the country to President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday.

This high-level committee proposed significant amendments to at least five articles of the Constitution to facilitate synchronized elections across the country, encompassing 18,626 pages of analysis and recommendations.

Established in September 2023, the Kovind-led HLC was tasked with examining the feasibility of simultaneous elections at various levels of governance, including the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats.

Over the course of its tenure, the committee engaged in consultations with stakeholders, conducted thorough research, and compiled its findings since its inception on September 2 the previous year.

The recommendations
The recommendations put forth by the HLC outline a phased approach to implementing simultaneous elections, suggesting that Lok Sabha and state assembly elections could be held concurrently in the initial phase, followed by local body elections within 100 days thereafter.

In instances of a hung House or a no-confidence motion, the panel proposed the possibility of conducting fresh polls to complete the remainder of the five-year term.

To facilitate the first round of synchronized polls, the committee proposed aligning the tenure of all state assemblies with the subsequent Lok Sabha elections.

Additionally, it suggested that the Election Commission collaborate with state electoral authorities to consolidate electoral rolls and issue voter ID cards for elections at various levels of governance. The panel recommended using a single electoral roll and Electoral Photo Identity Cards in elections to all the three tiers of Government.

In anticipation of the logistical challenges associated with simultaneous elections, the Kovind-led committee recommended bolstering infrastructure, manpower, and security forces to ensure the smooth conduct of the electoral process.

The submission of the committee’s report coincides with the imminent announcement of the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections by India’s election commission.

The committee comprised Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of State (I/C) for Law and Justice Arjun Ram Meghwa, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad, and former Finance Commission chairman NK Singh, among others.

Mokokchung Times

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