Streamlining Democracy: Kovind Committee Outlines Plan for Simultaneous Elections

Kovind Committee

New Delhi: A high-level committee led by former President Ramnath Kovind has taken a significant step towards electoral reform in India. The committee has put forth a recommendation for simultaneous elections to be held for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, followed by local body elections within 100 days.

Committee’s Formation and Research
The committee was established on September 2, 2023, and has since engaged in extensive consultations with various stakeholders and experts. After 191 days of diligent research, the committee has compiled its findings into a comprehensive report exceeding 18,000 pages.

Report Submission
This pivotal report was submitted to President Draupadi Murmu, outlining the benefits of concurrent elections. The committee asserts that this approach will bolster the development process, enhance social cohesion, and strengthen the democratic tradition, ultimately fulfilling the vision of an ideal “India that is India.”

Recommendations for Election Synchronization

  • Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections: The committee recommends that these elections be conducted simultaneously to streamline the electoral process.
  • Local Body Elections: These should occur within 100 days following the conclusion of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
  • Unified Voter List and ID: A single voter list and voter identity card should be prepared by the Election Commission of India in collaboration with State Election Authorities.
  • Constitutional Amendments: The committee suggests several amendments to the constitution, most of which will not necessitate state approval.

Election Timeline and Logistics

  • First Phase: Lok Sabha and Assembly elections should be held concurrently.
  • Second Phase: Elections for Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Nagar Panchayats, and Panchayats should be conducted within 100 days of the first phase.

Contingency for Government Dissolution
In the event of a state government’s collapse, the committee recommends the introduction of a no-confidence motion, potentially leading to fresh elections. Newly elected State Assemblies should remain intact until the concurrent Lok Sabha term concludes.

Kovind Committee

Current Electoral Responsibilities
Presently, the Election Commission of India oversees Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, while State Election Commissions manage municipal and Panchayat elections.

Report Presentation
The report was presented to President Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan by Ramnath Kovind, accompanied by committee members including Home Minister Amit Shah, former Finance Commission chief NK Singh, former Lok Sabha General Secretary Subhash Kashyap, former Rajya Sabha opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.