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Increase Lok Sabha seats, pass women’s reservation bill as part of poll reforms: President Mukherjee

Backing electoral reforms in the Indian political system, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday asked the government to come up with necessary amendments and hold public debates on a set of recommendations proposed by the Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections in the country.

Acknowledging that the administration is feeling the pinch due to frequent elections hampering the developmental works, he said, “Many of you would aware that frequent elections are a costly affair, putting stain on the administrative e resources and drainage of financial resources for holding and conducting lections. But we are ready to pay this price for the democracy, but it should not be at the cost of development in a developing economy like ours.”

He was delivering a lecture on the 4th Defence Estates Day in the national capital.

“I do feel that these do not affect the electoral process to that extent that voters would be influenced by the announcement. This is some sort of illusion with which the political activists believe. And here the Election Commission and the government can sit together with political parties to have discussion,” he added.

The President also said that President’s Rule should be extended to more than a year in a state if general elections are around the corner.

“As per the present constitutional amendment, after 44th amendment of the Constitution, president’s rule is only confined to one year subject to the ratification of both Houses of parliament at every 6 months. And if a consensus develops around simultaneous elections, there can be consensus on that as well,” he said.

“During general elections, it is imperative that the President’s Rule should be extended beyond one year so that it can synchronise with the general elections of the parliament,” he added.

President Mukherjee also pressed for the increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats in concomitant with rising population in the country.

“We have 543 members in Lok Sabha, our electors are more than 800 million, a country of having a population of 1.28 billion which is going to much larger very soon, we must think whether we can have larger number of seats and for that constitutional amendment for delimitation is needed. We shall have to think especially under electoral reforms,” he said.

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