BJP to organise webinars to create buzz on simultaneous

BJP to hold 25 webinars to push idea of 'one nation, one election'

Party sources said its senior leaders, besides members of academia and legal fraternity, will be attending these webinars

Since coming to power in 2014, Modi has often advocated holding all elections together, from Lok Sabha to state assemblies and local bodies. Credit: PTI file photo.

A month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a renewed pitch for simultaneous elections, BJP has come out with plans to organise more than two dozen webinars over the issue of "one nation, one election",  seeking to drum up public support over the issue, which has been summarily rejected by the Opposition.

BJP will deploy Union Ministers and its senior functionaries from the organisation in these online seminars, which will be attended by members of the intelligentsia, academia, and legal fraternity.

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference in Kevadia in Gujarat via video conference, Modi had on November 26 made a fresh pitch for  'One Nation, One Election' and urged for efforts to ensure that only one voter list is used for all types of elections in Lok Sabha, Assembly and Panchayats. 

Holding that one nation-one election is "not simply a subject of discussion", the Prime Minister had underlined the "need for deep study and deliberation on the issue of one nation one election."

Modi has consistently pursued the plan of simultaneous elections ever since he became Prime Minister in 2014 even as it was criticised by many. Former Vice President and former Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had in 2018 strongly disapproved of the idea of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together. The idea had also not found favour with a number of political parties, who skipped an all-party meeting called on the issue in 2019. 

Most of the Opposition party feel that the BJP has grown in size and influence since 2014, is trying to monopolise the country's politics and holding simultaneous elections is kind of a precursor to moving towards some sort of a personality-oriented election, which is to their disadvantage.

Recent election trends have shown while BJP led by Modi at Centre easily won the Lok Sabha polls, the trends in elections for Assemblies held in the corresponding period did not now show equally strong for the BJP. 

BJP's argument has been that if all elections are held together, this will orient various elected bodies fully towards development as the current cycle of frequent polls across the country hampers work.

They have also been citing how the Law Commission under Justice BS Chauhan had also a few years ago recommended holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies to save public money.

The Law Ministry, which was asked to submit a draft, had pointed out that holding simultaneous elections is not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution and had recommended amendment to the Constitution and electoral laws. 

One of the suggestions of NITI Aayog was to synchronise two-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly polls from 2024 to ensure minimum campaign-mode disruption to governance. However, the issue has not reached finality.

BJP's efforts to give a fresh impetus to the idea in the last week of 2020, is an indication that in his second tenure, the Modi government is quite serious to pursue this issue, which did not get enough political support during his first tenure.