Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Simultaneous elections beneficial, says ex-Chief Election Commissioner

HYDERABAD, July 11: If electoral reforms are implemented quickly, there may not be any justification for simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, says former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy.
If our political parties behave well during elections, strictly follow model code of conduct, observe the ceiling on expenditure, and avoid violence, hatred and muscle power, there may not be any justification for the concept, he said.
“Since they do not follow any of these requirements and since they do not respect rule of law during election time, simultaneous polls will certainly benefit in terms of cost-benefit ratio,” Mr Krishnamurthy told news agency PTI.
“Simultaneous polls idea can be implemented only if there is a constitutional amendment and additional adequate paramilitary forces,” he added.
Krishnamurthy listed law to regulate political parties, public funding of polls through national election fund, changing the first-past-the-post system and barring criminal elements from contesting polls as key electoral reforms.
“If these four (reforms) are brought in, there may not be any justification for simultaneous polls,” he felt.
On how political parties can be regulated, Mr Krishnamurthy cited separate laws governing them in some countries covering issues including their formation, functioning, manifesto and financial procedures.
Seeking to give shape to the central government’s concept of “one nation, one election”, the Law Commission’s internal working paper has recommended holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously but in two phases beginning 2019.
On July 7 and 8, the Commission had held consultations with various parties on the issue.
A total of six parties have voiced their support to the proposal, while nine are opposed to it. (PTI)