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Simultaneous elections a herculean task: TDP

Amravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], July 8 :
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) opined that the conducting Lok Sabha and State assembly elections would be a "herculean task"

In a letter to the Law Commission, the TDP highlighted that constitutional aspects would be a key constraint to conduction simultaneous elections.

"The primary constraint is constitutional aspects. Even if the elections were to be held simultaneously, every State Assembly will go through its political course. It is a Herculean task to conduct different electoral cycles of the states. In the absence of a clear majority, if elected MLAs shift their loyalty to other parties it becomes uncertainty to continue the Government," the letter read.
However, the TDP noted that if simultaneous elections are conducted, constitutional amendments and changes in the Election Commission would be required.

"The idea sounds against the ethos of democracy as it undermines people's mandate. And it will also dilute the spirit of Xth Schedule. It requires for constitutional amendments and consequential amendments to Representation of the People's Act. It may also require massive changes in Election Commission," the party said in its letter.

In the absence of an absolute majority for a party, the TDP argued that the move of simultaneous elections would hurt the basic structure of the Constitution.

"If the ruling party does not get a majority, and if the new government is formed in coalition and does not survive the full term, what will be the fate of elections to the state?" the TDP asked.
"One nation one election, like one nation one tax for all Indian electoral, is quite difficult because in a federation of 29 states and 7 Union Territories, uninterrupted and unforeseen political developments can always create a situation for midterm polls," it added.

However, the TDP noted that if simultaneous elections are held, they must happen through Voter Verifiable Paper, Audit Trail (VVPAT).

"In the spirit of trust-building between national and regional parties, we believe that if these are held simultaneously, then they must be accompanied with Voter Verifiable Paper, Audit Trail (VVPAT) for votes cast through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)," the party said.

It further stated that in the absence or shortage of VVPATs, ballot papers must be used for voting.
"If, due to any reason, especially in case of unavailability of required number of VVPATs when simultaneous elections will be held across the country and across all states, EC is unable to allocate appropriate number of VVPATs to all election booths in the country, or fall short of implementing this with 100 percent compliance, then we suggest that ballot paper should be used for elections," TDP added.

Talks of the feasibility of conducting simultaneous polls have been in discussion for months.
In April, the Law Commission had stated that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies could be held in two phases from 2019, provided that at least two provisions of the Constitution are amended and ratified by a majority of the states.

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