In recent months, “One Nation, One Election” concept is being widely discussed in newspapers article and tv news debates. The idea of simultaneous elections is not new in India. The first election in 1952 was conducted simultaneously. The same procedure was in practice till 1970, i.e. 1952, 1957, 1962 & 1967. This concept was ended when fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved early. , and the idea is also supported by the former President Pranab Mukherjee and current President Ram Nath Kovind.
What Is “One Nation, One Election” ?
In India, every year one or the other state is geared up for an election. This process of campaigning is often very tiring & the cost incurred is also very high. By this, the election fest likely becomes a never-ending process. Simultaneous election or the concept “One Nation, One Election” means a single voter will vote for both Lok Sabha elections as well as State Assembly elections on the same day, and elections can be conducted in phase wise manner in all the states. It aims for an election season for a fixed period instead of moving into the election fest in every year in different states. If we look into the current election system, there is a lot of wastage of money & time because we know that elections are held in every five years of every state & whole country. It looks like rest of five years in one state, but if we see all states of India, it seems like the election is happening in every year & money is also waste for conducting every election separately.
Who backs in favour & who are against of the proposal?
Political parties are divided into the two groups, where some have supported the proposal, while others have called the proposal “impractical & unconstitutional”. After the Law Commission meeting, held on the first week of July of this year, the commission got a mixed response on ‘one nation, one poll’ concept. NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Samajwadi Party (SP) & Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) supported the idea. However, BJP ally Goa Forward Party opposed the concept, as did the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), All India Forward Block (AIFB), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) & the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS). Later, Rajinikanth Supports ‘One India, One Election’ Proposal as mentioning that ‘One India, One Election’ is a good idea as it would save time & money of political parties. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar from JD(U) also extends support to the proposal & said that a consensus will have to be achieved before implementing this decision & it may take time even till 2024.
Here it is important to mention that the principle opposition party Indian National Congress, said it will consult other Opposition parties on the issue & they will exchange the notes & then will take the decision.
Meanwhile, the TMC, represented by MP Kalyan Bandhopadhyay, had opposed the concept stating that national issues would overshadow regional matters, and national parties with their “money power” would steal a march over smaller players.
Arguments in favour of simultaneous elections :
Arguments in against of simultaneous election :
I too have some questions :
The idea of Simultaneous Elections has been in discussion since long. Definitely, the Idea is sound well in theory, but there are certain problems associated with simultaneous election such as:
In my view, simultaneous election overlapped with the national and regional issues. India is a diverse country, and very region has their indigenous concerns where some get less importance, while some don’t get minimum focus. Along with this, Regional parties would find it difficult to grow at the national level.
If it’s the promise to minimise the cost of elections and to increase the work programmes, then I must say that public money can be saved easily by reducing wastage and eliminating corruption. Cost of elections are meagre when compared to scams like 2G and CWG, or Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya fleeing away with thousands of crores. On the other hand, to make the work culture better, there is a need for ‘goodwill’ to serve the people better, changing election practice might not help anymore. Also, the gimmicks like GST, Make In India, etc, have failed to live up to their tall promises.
To conclude, the Election Commission of India has given the idea a green signal and suggested five constitutional amendments to make simultaneous elections legal. There are a few advantages like saving money, spending less time campaigning, focusing on development but there is the lot of problems to introduce this proposal. In my views, this will worsen the central-state relations and affect the political, administrative and fiscal decentralisation. There are lots of pro & cons on this proposal, and lawmakers should take time to think on all the aspects of this proposal and deliver the perfect justification on the implementation of the proposal where India’s democratic and federal set up must be respectful. It should not be the ‘demonetisation’ kind of idea, where the public has to face brunt.