What is one nation one election concept?
“One nation, One election”, are you coming across this quote since quite a few days? Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting to talk about the idea of simultaneous elections; an idea which was pushed by him in 2016 as well.
The idea of “One nation, one election” is not new for the Indian democracy. From 1952, when the first elections were held in India to 1967, this was a part of the system.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are simultaneous elections?
- 2 Which articles of the Indian constitution needs amendments?
- 3 The cost of conducting elections in India
- 4 More about the meeting
- 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of One Nation, One Election
The implementation of the idea can lead to everybody voting for a single party or a single person as a whole. Every state might not have a chief minister from different parties it might end up having a single party rule, which can become a big question to the democracy.
Let us discuss and get to understand the concept further:
What are simultaneous elections?
According to the latest rules, state assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections are held differently at different times. If our country adopts the system of simultaneous polls, the state assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections will be held at the same time.
If at all the idea comes into the picture, in 2024, along with the next Lok Sabha elections, every state will have to conduct the assembly elections regardless of if it has completed its term or not. In Tamil Nadu, state assembly elections will be in 2021 and by 2024, the term would be incomplete and regardless of this fact, the state would conduct the assembly elections earlier, if simultaneous elections get a thumbs-up in the parliament.
As a voter, you would need to vote for the Lok Sabha representative as well as for the state assembly representative on the same day.
Which articles of the Indian constitution needs amendments?
- Article 83, which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament
- Article 85, which talks about the dissolution of Lok Sabha by the parliament
- 172 Article, which is related to the duration of the state legislature
- Article 174, which deals with the dissolution of state assemblies
- Article 356
The cost of conducting elections in India
- The 1952 elections cost around 10.52 crore to conduct the first elections in India, which is a huge amount in respect to that time
- In 2009, ECI spent a whopping amount of 1483 crore in the general elections
- 3,870.3 crores were spent by ECI in conducting the 2014 elections, which is more than double of the amount spent 5 years back
- The ECI has predicted a massive amount of 10,000 crores that will be spent on the general elections by ECI. The non-EC estimate of the elections is even more than 60,000 crore. It was the most expensive election of all times in India.
Simultaneous elections could save time and money and a single government can have more clear goals to focus on rather than just winning the mandates.
On the other hand, the expenditure on EVM would increase tremendously. It has a lifespan of 15 years, and under the system of simultaneous elections, it would only be used 3 times before getting replaced.
As discussed above, a lot of amendments would be required in the articles of the constitution.
One of the main points of all is that voters might end up voting for a wave of a person or a party as it happened in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. People didn’t vote for a candidate, they voted for their Prime Minister and hence the majority of NDA government came into the picture.
More about the meeting
The meeting conducted by the Prime Minister to discuss the idea of One nation, one election was not attended by a lot of leading parties including Congress and TMC.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel commented on the concept.
“Are you dissolving Lok Sabha and all Assemblies? This one nation, one election should be discussed when polls are near,” Baghel said.
“Lok Sabha elections were recently concluded. Only three-four days back, all MPs took oath in Lok Sabha. And now they are talking about one nation, one election. What is the need? Are elections approaching anytime soon?” Baghel further asked.
“You are not talking about any of these. You are talking about elections. Elections are over. What now? You did not talk about the issues for the five years on the basis of which you had come to power. You talked about surgical strike and others,” the chief minister of the Congress-ruled state quoted.
Advantages and Disadvantages of One Nation, One Election
There are pros and cons to every policy and scheme. One Nation One Election is no different. There are enough pros and cons of the scheme that will force us to look at the benefits while finding a solution to the challenges. First, we will discuss the positive aspects of the theory
Assertions to Support the scheme:
The biggest and the most noteworthy aspect of one nation one election is the monetary aspect. we are all aware about the huge sum of money that is used during the elections. India is in election mode every now and then. The money that should be utilized for welfare of the citizens is in turn used for management and operations included during the election. Not to mention the huge amount of Security Personnel and Teaching staff that are used for conducting elections. Also, when elections are approaching, the governance is affected since elections are a priority. If there is only one election, then it will save the time, resources and incentives given in lieu of election duty.
Another important but generally ignored aspect is environment. We are all aware of the number of pamphlets, hoardings, stationary that are used during the elections. More elections mean more of all these items, which adversely affect the environment. Recurring elections will need more wood for creation of stage etc. resulting in higher number of trees being cut down. More elections mean more rallies that will increase pollution by the huge number of vehicles used as well as heightened levels of noise pollution. Additionally, the huge number of flowers used during the elections also impact the ecosystem.
Repeated elections also elevate the level of corruption. It is a public knowledge that thousands of crores are spent in contesting elections. Those thousands of crores are then recovered by plundering the public money by indulging in unethical practices. If less money is spent during elections, it might lower the amount that is recovered afterwards.
Assertions against the scheme
There are some downsides against the One Nation One election scheme
The First and widely used criticism is that it will enhance the monopoly of a party. For instance, if A party is an immensely popular choice for the central government, people might as well select them for state. This will kill the smaller issues, as there will be a joint addressal for both elections. The leaders will sabotage the local but critical issues with other bigger issues like Defence or education.
Employment is another aspect that requires our attntion. There is a huge workforce which relies on elections for their bread. Small workers who supply pamphlets, flowers, tents, caterers, small marketing firms etc. will suffer a hit when the number of elections are reduced.
One strong point that deserves attention is the connect with people. It is highly uncommon for big leaders to connect with public or to address the citizens without elections. Combined elections will mean, fewer rallies and meetings. Also, the party in power might become vain. At present, the government thinks about consequences in upcoming elections before taking huge steps. If there are no upcoming elections, the political party is free to do things their way.
We strongly believe that if the policy is implemented, it should issue the concerns and challenges to ensure a smooth implementation. Failing this might create unrest and uncertainty among the citizens, which might be wrongly used by Anti Nationals.
The issue is quite debatable. What are your views on it?