The Big Picture! Understanding The Pros And Cons Of ‘One Nation One Election’
One Nation One Election means synchronizing the timings of the Lok Sabha elections and State Assembly elections across all the states. This is one of the most critical reforms of the current government.
The practice of having one election throughout was followed until 1967, but it has been discontinued since then. The practice was disrupted due to various reasons, like the dissolution of governments and several State Assemblies.
Currently, the assembly polls in the states of Odisha, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are held in accordance with the dates of the Lok Sabha elections.
Holding elections at different times of the year in different parts of the country greatly affects the application of various schemes and plans. This not only disturbs and disrupts the working environment but also adversely affects the entire economy. Various ministers and personalities have been speaking about their desire to have simultaneous elections throughout the nation.
Let’s discuss in this article the advantages, and challenges associated with them, the way forward, and the conclusion of having one nation one election.
Pros Of One Nation One Election
It would help the government stay focused on governance. It would help in the proper implementation of plans and policies throughout the nation.
In today’s scenario, elections are held almost every 3 months in some or another part of the nation. This creates a lot of disturbance in the entire nation as everyone is focused on the election.
All the political parties, be they national or state parties, be they PM or CM, are deeply involved in the election, as no one wants to lose it. Keeping this scenario in mind, one nation one election becomes a necessity.
As soon as the elections are declared by the Election Commission of India. The Model Code of Conduct comes into play and as per the Model Code of Conduct, no new policies can be implemented as a result of which the State or the area remains deprived of the policies during the course of time. Also, the implementation of the new policies gets delayed at all levels, be it at the center, state, or Local level.
Pros Of One Nation One Election
Government officials and other executives are sent to different places for election duties, which hampers the work to a great extent. All the major projects get delayed due to election duty. So it is advisable to have one nation one election so that all the processes work hand in hand.
There would be a significant reduction in election costs. The way elections are held today, crores of Rupees are being spent for the same. Once the One Nation One election gets implemented, a significant reduction in the election cost will be achieved.
A significant amount of money is spent by different parties on distributing freebies for the election. This cost becomes a great burden on the treasury, one nation one election would solve the problem of excessive spending on elections.
Security personnel from the Army are deployed on election duty. This happens for both state and federal center elections. It involves a huge cost. Also, the paramilitary and police forces are engaged in the same work, keeping their actual work on hold. So holding one nation one election at the same time would be of greater help.
Cons Of One Nation One Election
Bringing in the resolution of one nation one election would require amendments to the Constitution.
Organizing simultaneous elections would require a huge infrastructure that could support one nation in one election.
A huge amount of money is required to align the simultaneous elections.
It is very important to create awareness among the common masses regarding the advantages of organizing simultaneous elections. The voters must know the meaning, advantages, disadvantages, costs involved, etc. Creating awareness among the masses would help them exercise their voting rights without confusion and inconvenience.
A complete procedure must be established for the implementation of the simultaneous elections, as many State Assemblies may see No- Confidence, hung parliament, etc.
When simultaneous elections are held, it is important to align and synchronize the electoral cycles.
A very high investment would be required to maintain the cost of the Electronic Voting machines, or EVMs, Voter- Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). Also, tight security would be required to keep these safe and save them from tampering.
The most important aspect of having one nation one election is the consensus of all the stakeholders. All the parties, be it State or National parties, need to have a strong agreement on the topic of organizing simultaneous elections throughout the nation.
The idea of Simultaneous elections, or one nation one election, is not feasible as per the current Framework of our Constitution. This was also reported by the law commission headed by Justice B. S. Chauhan.
It said that the Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would also require appropriate amendments to conduct simultaneous elections.
It was also recommended by the commission that there be at least 50% ratification by the States, which is again not easy to attain.
Way Forward And Conclusion
The idea of one nation one election is a huge and gigantic task. One Nation One Election is not very easy to implement. It would not only require consensus, consent, and a proper framework but also a huge investment to implement.
It is advisable for the government to not implement it at once. A detailed analysis and study is required. Then a proper framework for implementation needs to be designed. Since this is a gigantic task to be done appropriate infrastructure and technology are required which on the other hand requires huge amounts of investment.
So, the government must consider building consensus with all the stakeholders to come to a proper conclusion. Also, this is not a task that can be completed in a single day. It needs to take small steps and then decide its feasibility in the near future to come.