The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday extended its support for the Centre’s “one nation, one election” plan and submitted a memorandum to a high-level committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind.

The “one nation, one election” plan, first floated by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, involves conducting elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies at the same time.

In September, the Centre had notified an eight-member high-level committee headed by Kovind to look into the feasibility of implementing the plan.

The proponents of the plan argue that holding simultaneous elections will save the government signficant sums of money that can be used for developmental works.

The Opposition parties, however, have opposed the idea on the grounds that it contradicts the structure of the Constitution. They have also said that simulaneous polls will “damage the idea of parliamentary democracy”.

On Saturday a delegation of the Janata Dal (United), led by its general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha and the party’s Parliamentary Party leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh, submitted the memorandum to Kovind.

The party, which recently returned to an alliance with the BJP in Bihar, listed ten advantages of simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, saying that the plan would save large sums of money and ensure continuity in policy decisions, reported The Times of India.

The memorandum also said that the “one nation, one election” model would pave the way for good governance, result in higher voter turnouts, streamline electoral processes, promote a level playing field between parties and reduce poll-related violence.

The Janata Dal (United), however, submitted that polls for all local bodies, including municipalities and panchayats, should be held together but separately from the Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls.

In 2018, the Janata Dal (United) had endorsed the “one nation, one election” plan when party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar backed the proposal before the Law Commission of India.

Last year, when Kumar was part of the Opposition’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA bloc, he had said that if the Centre was sincere about holding concurrent polls, it would have started with the pending census, reported The Indian Express.

“If they really wanted to do this, why didn’t they start with the census,” Kumar asked in September. “It used to happen every 10 years, but they didn’t do it. When this proposal comes in the House we will discuss. I have had my doubts since the beginning that they want to hold early elections. Because they see the Opposition coming together and they are feeling they are in danger.”

Last month, the Union law ministry had said that out of the 20,972 responses received by the high-level committee on the “one nation, one election” proposal, 81% affirmed the idea of holding simultaneous polls.

Also read: