In a crucial development, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) recently held a meeting to discuss the prospects of instituting a common voter's list for elections to all local bodies, state assemblies and the Lok Sabha.
According to a report in The Indian Express, in the meeting, which took place on August 13, two key options were discussed. First, making amendments to Articles 243K and 243ZA in order make it mandatory to have a single electoral roll for all polls across the country, and second, to ask state governments to adopt the Election Commission’s (EC) voters list for municipal and panchayat elections.
The meeting was chaired by PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
What makes the move significant is that the idea of a common voter list for all elections is linked with ‘one nation, one election’ — a concept calls for a single election for state legislatives, Lok Sabha and Panchayats in a span of five years. Modi had tried to push this idea during his first term as the prime minister. The common electoral roll was also among the key promises made by the BJP before the Lok Sabha elections in May 2019.
Various committees and institutions have time and again spoken in favour of simultaneous elections saying it will save time, money and energy. However, Indian Express had earlier quoted a former Chief Election Commissioner as saying that the change would require a massive consensus-building exercise, which may not be easy given the suspicion between the States and the Centre.