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Government think tank NITI Aayog has seconded an often-expressed opinion regarding synchronising the Lok Sabha and assembly elections and called for conducting synchronised two-phase elections from 2024 itself in 'national interest'.
In a recently released report, NITI Aayog said that all the elections in India should happen in a free, fair and synchronised manner to ensure minimum 'campaign mode' disruption to governance.
"We may begin work towards switching to a synchronised two-phase election from the 2024 election to the Lok Sabha. This would require a maximum one-time curtailment or extension of some state assemblies," said the report.
The think tank advised that a focused group of stakeholders consisting of constitutional experts, subject matter experts, think tanks, government officials and representatives of political parties should be formed to work out the details regarding implementation of the election plan.
"This may include drafting appropriate Constitution and statutory amendments, agreeing on a workable framework to facilitate transition to simultaneous elections, developing a stakeholder communication plan and various operational details," said the report.
Previously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former president of the nation Pranab Mukherjee have also called for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
During Mukherjee's speech on the eve of Republic Day this year, he said, "The time is also ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms and a return to the practice of the early decades after Independence when elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously."
PM Modi highlighted the financial expenses that frequent elections entailed as well the loss of time. He said that more than Rs 1,100 crore was spent on the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, an expense which shot up to Rs 4,000 crore in 2014.
More than 1 crore government employees are tasked with election related work while security forces are also called in for security leading to the loss of time for both personnel.
Although there are several benefits for simultaneous elections, combining the schedules would not be an easy task.