One Nation One Election is a good suggestion, but this will need a change in the Constitution and it is to be decided in parliament. The Election Commission is fully prepared and is capable of conducting simultaneous elections, said Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra in an exclusive interview with ANI.
Chandra said, “According to the Constitution, all the elections should be held simultaneously. The parliament elections that are held since independence, all three of them are simultaneous elections. It is only later that sometimes the Assembly was dissolved, sometimes parliament, which disturbed the schedule. One Nation One Election is a good suggestion but this needs a change in the constitution.”
“An assembly which will not be able to complete the 5-year term in the Assembly will have to think about whether we can abolish it under the Constitution or we need to increase the tenure of parliament for simultaneous election in the country, he said. Chandra further added that it is to be decided in Parliament that should we take half of the assembly together and the next time take the other half together, it is to be decided in parliament, but the election commission is fully prepared and the election commission is capable of holding all the elections simultaneously and is ready to elect it only once in 5 years,” he said. Talking about the just concluded election in five states, Chandra said banning the rallies and padyatras was a tough decision.
“When this election process started which we start from the month of September, October, no one knew that the third wave of coronavirus was to come. But as we approached December, we felt that the Omicron was spreading. The commission discussed with the Union Health Secretary and talked to the Chief Secretary of the State and the State Health Secretary. We found that the COVID is spreading,” he said.
“In some of the states, not everyone has been vaccinated, so the commission decided that there will be no physical rally in the first week of the beginning and there will be no padyatras, only a digital rally and at the same time you can do door-to-door campaigning, which is also in restricted numbers. The basic concept of commission is that the vote should be safe and the voter should also be safe,” he said.
Every Saturday Sunday, we reviewed the situation with the Chief Secretary, Health Secretary, directed the Chief Secretary of election-bound states to vaccinate everyone, while banning the rally will not spread Covid19 further. On the other hand, we were slowly opening this ban. After every week, we relaxed by graded responses. “I would like to tell you that no political party has opposed it. I am thankful to all the political parties, also to the voters that they took our decision correctly and understood it correctly and we had also increased the limit of expenditure to campaign through digital means. So that there can be campaigning in the hybrid model which can be replicated further that you can also digitalize and physicalize it,” said the CEC.
“No party has opposed this decision and all the parties have campaigned through a digital medium. The mode was changed. As you notice that work from home started in the second wave of coronavirus. The companies were not closed. Similarly, the campaign did not stop, the campaign started in another way. Before the elections, apart from Manipur, the rest four states have provided the first dose of the vaccine to its 100% population. The second dose was also given to most people. In the polling station also, we had maintained safety, due to which the voter was also safe and the voting was also safe. During ban, our officials took the MCC violation very seriously. 2270 FIR has been filed for violation of Covid protocol norms as well as MCC violation in all the five states.Chandra said that knowing your candidate application was a grand success initiative by the commission. There was a petition suit in the Supreme Court in which people from criminal backgrounds are coming to the election. The Supreme Court had decided that those who are people of criminal background should be known to voters. That is why we created an app and made it mandatory for people with criminal images that you will put their criminal history on the website. Out of 6,900 candidates, more than 1,600 were with a criminal background, 25% of candidates were of the criminal antecedent. It is the job of the Election Commission that our voters should get all kinds of information if he/she knows that there is a criminal case registered against this candidate. This will help them to make their choice.
This is necessary for the cleaning of democracy that candidates having criminal background don’t deserve in politics, but ultimately it depends on the choice of voters. Our responsibility is to tell voters the background of candidates, he said.