While refraining from disclosing the full agenda of the upcoming special session in Parliament, scheduled from September 18 to 22, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi acknowledged on Friday that a discussion on “one nation, one election” would take place. He characterized this as an evolutionary step for Indian democracy and questioned why the Opposition was apprehensive about it.
Joshi stated, “There will be a discussion (on ‘one nation, one election’) in Parliament. Why is the Opposition scared (about it)? Democracy is about evolution; India is the mother of democracy. This is part of evolution.”
He further explained, “In this evolution, every new proposal that benefits the nation will be discussed. For now, a committee has been formed, and they will provide their suggestions, after which a discussion will be held on the subject. Simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies were conducted until 1967. Now, there are polls every few months, resulting in substantial expenditure. This must be discussed.”
When questioned about the special session’s agenda by reporters, Joshi responded, “As far as the special session goes, I will discuss the agenda with you later.” The Union government has established a committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of ‘one nation, one election,’ which envisions holding general elections and state Assembly elections simultaneously.
Sources indicate that the committee will explore the possibility of enacting legislation related to this concept. Earlier, a parliamentary standing committee, the Law Commission, and NITI Aayog had examined the ‘one nation, one election’ proposal and submitted reports on the matter. However, the opposition INDIA bloc, currently meeting in Mumbai, opposes the idea of discussing ‘one nation, one election’ in the House, as noted by Rajya Sabha MP and UBT Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Chaturvedi emphasized, “Today, the country is grappling with issues such as farmers’ concerns, rising unemployment, and China’s aggression. If the special session addresses these issues, it is welcomed. If it is used to divert attention from these problems, it indicates that the BJP is anxious. I would like to ask the central government when a committee will be formed to address inflation, corruption, increasing unemployment, and women’s reservation.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated the idea of ‘one nation, one election’ on several occasions. In November 2020, while addressing a conference of presiding officers, he argued, “One nation, one election is not only a subject of debate but a necessity for India. There is an election in India every month, which hampers development. Why should the country waste so much money?”