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One Nation One Election: BJP has a strategy in place, but will it go through

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, Aug 14: With an intention of rolling out the One Nation One Poll, the BJP is set to hold a meeting to discuss the issue. BJP, president, Amit Shah had written to the Law Commission of India in support of the concept.

    One Nation One Election: BJP has a strategy in place, but will it go through

    During the meeting, the BJP would look to push for simultaneous elections in 11 states along with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The 11 states include:

    • Chhattisgarh
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Rajasthan
    • Mizoram
    • Odisha
    • Telangana
    • Andhra Pradesh
    • Haryana
    • Maharashtra
    • Jharkhand 
    • Bihar

    Among these 11 states, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are already scheduled to go to elections in 2019, when Lok Sabha polls will be held. The BJP would try and advance the elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, which go to polls months after the Lok Sabha elections.

    Also Read | Three reasons why India must adopt 'One Nation, One Poll'

    Moving the schedule:

    While advancing the elections in states such as Maharashtra would be a possibility, the challenge would be in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. In these states, the elections are scheduled for 2018 and getting them postponed to 2019 would be difficult. The option would be to impose Governor's rule in these states, but then it would face a challenge before the court.

    The other state to watch out for would be Bihar, where polls are scheduled in 2020. If both the BJP and JD(U), which are in an alliance are on the same page, the assembly could be dissolved and elections held in 2019 itself.

    In the run up to 2019, the BJP would look to debate the issue and educate the people about the benefits of having simultaneous elections. In his letter, Shah had said that there are ill-effects of the current imposition of the model code of conduct, which disrupts the implementation of schemes.

    Also Read | 'One Nation One Poll:' UP becomes first state to draft report backing the concept

    Consensus?

    While the BJP and few of its allies are in favour of simultaneous elections, there appears to be no consensus from the other parties. For instance the Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, DMK, Congress, CPI(M) and Goa Forward Party have opposed the concept. The TRS and the Samajwadi Party on the other hand have favoured the exercise.

    On this issue bringing about a consensus would be the key. The Congress which senses a victory in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh would not agree to postpone the elections to 2019. It would immediately approach the court in case the Governor's rule is imposed and the elections postponed.

    BJP sources say that this is an issue which has to be debated by all and only then can a consensus be reached. It would in the long run only benefit the people of the country and hence a consensus on the issue is needed.

    UP would be crucial:

    Elections in UP would be crucial for any party in 2019. Amit Shah had recently told party workers that he is confident that the BJP would bag 73 seats, even if a grand alliance of the opposition is in place.

    The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had come together for the recently held by-elections and managed to beat the BJP in its strongholds of Gorakhpur and Phulpur. The two parties are likely to continue with the alliance in 2019. However this equation could go wrong if the Yogi Adityanath government decides to dissolve the assembly and have simultaneous polls in 2019. The BSP and SP are unlikely to come together at least in the assembly segment.

    Also Read | Naveen Patnaik supports Modi's 'One Nation One Poll' proposal

    UP in fact became the first state to draft a report advancing the need for a 'One Nation One Poll. The report prepared by a panel headed by state minister, Dr. Siddharth Nath Singh submitted the report to the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.

    UP along with Madhya Pradesh were the first states to constitute such a panel in a bid to carry forward Modi's campaign to hold simultaneous elections.

    Elections in UP are due in 2022, but the party's state unit has shown willingness to go for simulteneous elections in 2019. If this goes through then UP would be setting a precedent. The issue pertaining to a 'One Nation One Poll' was advocated by the Prime Minister. The Election Commission of India also said that it would ready for the concept.

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