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Law Commission supports simultaneous polls




New Delhi, Aug 30 : The Law Commission of India on Thursday came out strongly in support of simultaneous parliamentary and state assembly elections, stating that the process can be initiated from 2019 itself by holding 13 assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections.

The polls to the remaining 17 assemblies (including Union Territory of Puducherry) can be held in 2021 for a term of 30 months to make them synchronous with the rest of the states and Lok Sabha elections in 2024, it said.

In its draft report released on Thursday, the law panel has set aside reservations by many opposition parties as having no merit and quoting from one of Shakespeare’s plays emphasized that “to do a great right it is permissible sometimes to do a little wrong”.

“Time has come for India to revert to simultaneous elections in the greater national interest. Thus the Commission recommends holding of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies,” the Commission said in the draft report.

On the apprehensions expressed by a number of opposition parties regarding democracy, basic structure of the Constitution and federalism, etc if simultaneous polls are held, the law panel said it did not find any of these apprehensions having a basis.

“Holding simultaneous elections, by no means, affects democratic set-up of India. It cannot be argued that holding simultaneous elections would adversely interfere with the basic structure of the Constitution,” it said in the report.

“Similarly, as the process of simultaneous elections does not alter any of the entries in the three Lists contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, and it does not interfere with legislative competence of the Centre or the states, the contention that it would tinker with the concept of federalism is devoid of any merit,” it added.

Suggesting to start synchronising state polls with that Lok Sabha elections, the Commission came up with three formulae.

As a first option, it said, elections to 12 state assemblies and one Union Territory with legislature (Delhi) could be synchronised with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Since elections to the assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Telangana are due with the Lok Sabha polls, they stand synchronised.

“If there is political will, elections to the assemblies of Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Delhi (which will mean curtailment of their terms) can also be held along with Lok Sabha and the five states mentioned above in 2019,” it said.

“In case of the other four states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan, where elections are due in early January of 2019 and end of 2018, extension of up to six months is required to attain synchronisation with Lok Sabha elections in 2019, which will entail amendment to Article 172 of the Constitution,” it added.

It suggested that in the case of remaining 16 states and Puducherry (Union Territory with legislature), elections can be conducted towards the end of 2021…only for 30 months or till June 2024.

“Thereafter, elections to the Lok Sabha and all the state legislative assemblies and UTs with legislatures can be held together from 2024, completely synchronising the elections,” the Law Commission said.

As a second option, it has suggested holding elections twice every five years after elections to 13 assemblies are synchronised with that of Lok Sabha in 2019, with remaining 16 assemblies having simultaneous elections from 2021 onwards.

“Repeating the cycle of elections to Lok Sabha and 13 states in mid-2024 and elections to 17 assemblies by the end of 2026…will result in elections only twice in a period of five years,” it said.

The third option suggested by the law panel is holding all elections due in one calendar year together “during such part of the year, which is conducive to all the states involved and/or the Lok Sabha”. Also it suggested holding all by-polls due in a calender year together.

It has recommended required constitutional amendments to this effect but stressed that the number such amendments be kept to the minimum possible.

In order to ensure that the cycle of simultaneous elections is not disrupted, the Commission has recommended that a House constituted upon the dissolution of the House before the expiration of its duration should continue only for the remainder of the term for which the dissolved House would have continued, had it not been so dissolved.

This could be achieved by adding a proviso to Articles 83(2) and 172(1) of the Constitution, it said.

However, the Commission has emphasised on building a consensus on the issue in the general public and particularly among the politcal parties.


2019 Lok Sabha elections: EC to announce poll schedule in March 1st Week



Election Commission

New Delhi, Jan 18: The Election Commission of India to announce the 2019 Lok Sabha election schedule in the first week of March, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

The election would be held in 6 to 7 phases.


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AAP irrelevant, we want to win all 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi: Sheila Dikshit

I will mobilise all workers and leaders for the party’s victory



sheila dikshit arvind kejriwal

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Inducted as Delhi Congress President ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections, Sheila Dikshit says her target is to win all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.

The 80-year-old leader, who assumed office as the Delhi Congress chief on Wednesday, said she will mobilise all workers and leaders for the party’s victory.

She said her target is “to get Congress active and get all Congressmen together.”

Asked about her target for the Lok Sabha elections, she said: “I hope to win all the seven. We will target all the seven and then see”.


Veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit with Former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken during a programme where she took charge as the party’s Delhi unit chief in New Delhi, on Jan 16, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Asked when the party will declare its candidates as the AAP has sounded its potential candidates and the BJP already has sitting MPs in all the seven seats, she hoped that the candidates will be decided soon. “Let’s see when the high command announces.”

Dikshit said she is not in favour of an alliance with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital and prefers that the party go it alone.

However, at the same time she also does not rule out a tie up with the AAP.

“No, I am not in favour of it (alliance with AAP),” she told IANS.

“The Aam Aadmi Party is not a very polished party. For instance why did they do all that …Rajiv Gandhi having got the award (Bharat Ratna). What have they got to do with it. They never gave the award 22 years ago. Why did they pick it up? They just pick up things. I don’t think they think before what they are doing,” the three-time chief minister of Delhi said when she was asked about the reasons for not going for an alliance with the AAP.

“Anyway, for me, I mean they are the ruling party of Delhi so that relevance is there but otherwise they are an irrelevant party.”

Asked if the AAP was in touch with the party’s central leadership, she said: “No, not with us in anyway. I don’t think so.”

Pressed further on the issue, Dikshit said she had no idea. “Nobody has spoken about it.”

Asked if she had conveyed her viewpoint to the central leadership, Dikshit said she had given her views in the media.


Veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit with party leaders Ajay Maken, Meira Kumar and Harun Yusuf during a programme where she took charge as the party’s Delhi unit chief in New Delhi, on Jan 16, 2019. Also seen . (Photo: IANS)

“I have conveyed to all of you so everybody knows my viewpoint. It has been there for a long time.”

Asked if she was ruling out an alliance with the AAP, she said: At the moment there is no alliance with AAP, and let’s see what happens in future.”

To a follow up question on when the uncertainty will end, she smiled and refused to comment.

She rejected apprehensions that the Congress and the AAP fighting separately will give an advantage to the BJP in Delhi.

“Why, why, why…No. We are strong enough ourselves, please remember. We are older than the BJP and much older than the AAP. No thank you…No, there is no need (to align).”

To a query whether she had given her feedback to the party, Dikshit said, “Not yet,” and added that she will be doing so as soon as she was asked by the leadership.

Asked if potential candidates have been sounded out, she said “everybody is working, everybody has got their mind on it and we have to meet and bring (it) to each other’s attention.”

Asked about her being made PCC chief only three months before the polls and if it should have been done earlier, Dikshit said: “What has happened has happened. You make the best of what has happened.”

She said the party not having declared its candidates so far does not matter. “The God made the whole world in seven days and surely we can do this (declare candidates).”

However, she refused to spell out her party’s strategy. “I won’t tell you just now. I will bring the strategy which is implementable. So let me just study it.”

She said the workers were motivated and the ground work was visible for the last-three four days.

Asked who was the main challenger between the AAP and the BJP in Delhi, she said they both were a challenge.

“I think at the national level, if you are looking at their presence, then the BJP is.”

Asked if Rahul Gandhi was relying on the old guard having appointed Kamal Nath chief minister in Madhya Pradesh, Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh, Dikshit did not give a direct answer.

“I wouldn’t say. This is a question you need to ask Rahulji. I don’t make assessments on appointments, they have been made, they have been made.”

Dikshit admitted that there was some factionalism in the Delhi unit and said it will be addressed.

“There is… wherever there are 20…there are hundreds of people in the Congress, there is bound to be a faction. It is not something that cannot be overcome for a particular cause,” she said.

“The challenge is to face the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and the challenge that is consistent with that is to keep the party together. All of us not to show our differences of opinion if we have any. Carry on what the leaders (say) so that we are seen as a joint organisation working for the good of the Congress,” she said.

Dikshit said she will campaign for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh if asked to, “but I will focus more on Delhi as there is a lot of work here.”

Asked about the dim possibility of a grand alliance shaping up in Delhi, she said: “You all bring a time limit saying do it now or tomorrow. In politics there is no time limit. It depends on the opportunities and atmosphere that is there and then we take decisions.”

She said that both national and local issues will be highlighted in Delhi during the campaign.

Dikshit said the party will highlight the development work done during her 15 years as chief minister. “Obviously, those works were done by Congress and we will surely highlight those works.”

On the recurrent confrontation between the AAP government in Delhi with the BJP-led central government, Dikshit said she had worked smoothly as Chief Minister with the Vajpayee government.

“It is for them to understand whether confrontation brings out work,” she said.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected] and Prashant Sood at [email protected])

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AAP to fight Lok Sabha polls in UP, Kejriwal won’t contest




Varanasi, Jan 13 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday said it will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pardesh but unlike last time, party chief Arvind Kejriwal will not be its face from Varanasi.

Speaking to IANS, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said the details of the seats and candidates would be finalised by February-end.

“The party or Kejriwal never said that he is going to contest the Lok Sabha elections. He is Delhi’s Chief Minister and he has no plans to join the electoral race in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Singh said.

“The party will field candidates in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh from the areas where the organisation is strong. The details of seats and candidates will be announced by February-end,” he added.

Singh on Sunday concluded his two-day “Bhajpa Bhagao, Bhagwan Bachao Yatra” in Varanasi.

The Yatra, which started from Ayodhya on Saturday, was organised to “expose” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on various issues. He also sough to highlight that hundreds of Shivlingas were allegedly found lying under the rubble of structures demolished to pave way for the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor — a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his parliamentary constituency.

The AAP has announced that it will focus on Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Goa in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In 2014, Kejriwal contested face from Varanasi against BJP candidate and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kejriwal lost the elections by over three lakh votes.


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