Friday, 20th October, 2017

India witnesses its biggest electoral reform as Election Commision & all political parties agree on simultaneous elections

31, May 2017 By Abhishek K

In a surprise move, rarely seen in India, Election Commission has finally managed to persuade all political parties for simultaneous elections in India. In an interim notification, the Commission has stated that starting 2019, there will be only one election every 5 years for all constitutionally elected bodies starting from local Panchayats, municipal corporations, State legislative assemblies and the national parliament. Yesterday, Election Commission had called for a surprise strategy meeting with all political parties, where this rare agreement was reached. The meeting went on for 6 hours and almost all political parties had very interesting perspectives on the subject. What came out might not only ease the economic burden of elections on common citizens, but can also potentially give respite to political parties from being in continuous campaign mode.

The idea of simultaneous elections in India has been floating around for a while, after Prime Minister Modi pitched for it.

He has been stressing on the fact that due to lack of mass leaders in BJP, who can go and seek votes, he has to campaign extensively for his party even in local body elections such as Panchayats and Municipal Corporations.

“It really leaves me little time to spend as a prime minister and I have to also cut on my foreign travel, in wake of frequent elections in the country”, he was quoted saying in his “Mann ki baat” programme.

Congress, while initially reluctant to support this decision, has finally agreed to it. Eminent lawyer and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal put it most logically.

“It is better to lose one election than losing elections after election. It is really difficult to explain every time that there is no Modi wave and opinion polls, exit polls and the actual results are all figments of media imaginations”, he argued. “We better be over this rhetoric only once every 5 years”, he opined.

Sibal’s colleague and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh insisted that Rahul Gandhi will still be their leader, irrespective of this decision of simultaneous elections. He also pre-empted that Rahul has not been held responsible for any of electoral defeats Congress has so far, and he cannot be held responsible for the defeat in after this ruling comes into effect as well.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also found his rare agreement on this issue. He mentions, “EVMs are anyways hacked and Election Commission is not giving us chance to prove the same by changing EVM’s motherboard. How does it make a difference, if elections are held once or repeatedly?”.

Surprisingly, the only counter argument in this path breaking reform came from Election Commission itself, where Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi was quote saying, “This will make us irrelevant. Any ways, political parties do not listen to us and blame us for their loss. The entire commission will be rendered useless for 5 years and will see severe job cuts and financial strains in an already sluggish economy”. He however, agreed to scuttle his and the commission’s importance in the larger interest of the nation.

Meanwhile some sources indicated that Rahul Gandhi was not present in the meeting and Congress party was represented by other senior Congress leaders. On asking whereabouts of Rahul Gandhi, one congress leader mentioned, “he was informed immediately of this decision. He completely stands by it.” Sources indicated that, he will soon be boarding an international flight to a destination, yet to be confirmed. It was learnt, through some senior congress leaders that he has gone for a long two year meditation to find internal peace and make a holistic strategy for the grand election of 2019. Congress leaders are exulting in joy and confidence of emerging victorious in 2019, ever since they have learnt about the details travel plan of their leader for building a comprehensive strategy and detailed plan to beat the incumbent government in 2019.