PMO holds meet on common electoral roll, brainstorms ways to convince states

A recent meeting discussed amendment to Articles 243K and 243ZA, which empowers state election bodies, to make a single electoral roll mandatory for all elections  

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The Prime Minister’s Office recently held a meeting to deliberate on preparing a common voters’ list for local body, assembly and Lok Sabha polls, reported Indian Express.

The meeting discussed the possibility of a constitutional amendment to Articles 243K and 243ZA that would make having a single electoral roll for all elections mandatory, and to convince state governments to alter their laws and adopt the Election Commission’s voters list for municipal and panchayat elections.

A common electoral roll was one of the promises made by the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Under it, the government envisions to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly and local body elections across the country.

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The meeting held on August 13 was reportedly chaired by Principal Secretary to the PM PK Mishra and attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Legislative Secretary G Narayana Raju and Panchayati Raj Secretary Sunil Kumar among others.

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Articles 243K and 243ZA empower the State Election Commission with control and preparation of the electoral rolls and conduct of elections. While SECs prepare their own electoral rolls for local body polls and need not coordinate with the EC, a majority of states use the EC’s voter list instead of their own for municipality and panchayat polls.

While some states like Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh use their own electoral rolls for local body polls, the PMO meeting discussed ways to persuade them to use the EC’s list instead of their own for local body polls.

According to the report, Mishra has asked the Cabinet Secretary to consult with the states on the same and suggest the next step within a month.

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