One Nation One Election: Merits and Demerits
India is called the largest democratic country of the world because china is the communist country despite most populous country. The general elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held at the gap of five years. But it is observed that election is a whole year process in the India.
Government spends a lot money, time and energy on the conduct of different elections. That is the reason that government of India is thinking about “One Nation One Election” system in India.
What is “One Nation One Election” System?
General elections for the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are held at the gap of 5 years in India. But in addition to this; elections for the different State Assemblies are held in some states separately which put huge burden on the government exchequer. Now the NDA government wants to go for just one election in the whole country in the gap of 5 years.
History of “One Nation One Election” in India
If you think that the concept of “One Nation One Election” is new for India then you are wrong because “One Nation One Election” is not a unique experiment in our country. Simultaneous elections have been conducted for the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies simultaneously in India in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967.
This practice was discontinued in 1968-69, because some Legislative Assemblies were dissolved earlier due to various reasons. Since then India is trying hard to adopt the old election system but there is no consensus among the political parties.
Let’s discuss the merits and demerits of “One Nation One Election”
Merits of “One Nation One Election”
1. Money Saving: The biggest logic in the favour of the simultaneous election is the saving of government money. If the country goes for “One Nation One Election” it will save huge money. There are 4120 MLAs in the 31 states & UTs. The maximum expenditure limit for bigger assemblies is 28 lacs. It means if all the states & UTs go for one time election then its total cost would be around Rs. 11 billion. Usually around 5 states go for polls every year.
2. Speedy Development Work: It is observed that when the election Model Code of Conduct is in force then the inauguration of new projects does not take place. So one time election will ensure continuity in policies and programmes of the central and state governments.
3. Check on Black Money: It is an open secret that elections are fought with black money. A huge black turned into white money during elections in the country. So if the elections are conducted throughout the year then there is a possibility that parallel economy will grow in the country.
4. Smooth functioning of the Government Machinery: Concerned government deploys huge manpower and machinery to conduct free and fair elections in the country and states. Schools and colleges open on time; teachers and other officials are allowed to work in their respective departments which ease the life of general public.
5. Efficiency of Governance: If elections are not conducted annually then the government need not to woo general public through lucrative schemes and make caste and religion based programmes. Even State and Central Government need not to prepare lucrative budget every year and they can take tough decisions for the betterment of the economy.
Demerits of “One Nation One Election”
1. Local issues will fade out: It is observed that elections for state assemblies and Lok Sabha are fought on different issues. Regional parties target local issues while national parties target national issues. So there is a possibility that regional parties will not be able to raise the local issues strongly.
2. Hard time to Regional Parties: Regional parties will not be able to compete with national parties in terms of election expenditure and election strategy. Assembly elections are closely associated with the local issues and local voters. Hence one time election will not be accepted by the regional parties.
3. Delay in Election Results: At present when almost all the regional parties are demanding to conduct elections through ballet papers. If elections are conducted in one time mode then the elections results will be declared very late.
4. Constitutional Problems: One time election seems almost impossible due to democratic set up of the country. Suppose if elections are conducted simultaneously but it is not sure that all the states and central government will be formed by the full majority. It is also possible that some parties make alliance government which can fall any time before 5 years. So there is a possibility of re-election in the whole country.
5. Requirement of Huge Machinery & Resources: As we know that India is the largest democracy in the world so it will be daunting task to conduct simultaneous election in all the states, UTs and Lok Sabha.
According to the Law Commission, if the country goes for simultaneous election then the election commission need to spend Rs 4,500 crore on new EVMs.
Constitutional Amendments needed for simultaneous Elections;
1. Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament.
2. Article 85 deals dissolution of Lok Sabha by the President.
3. Article 172 related to duration of state legislatures.
4. Article 174 related to dissolution of state assemblies.
5. Article 356 President’s Rule in the state.
The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies.
Which country conducts simultaneous elections?
3. South Africa
In the present scenario it seems tough to adopt the system of “One Nation One Election” because the regional parties will not agree to adopt this system because they have experienced the worst defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections. So before getting the consensus of all political parties the central government need to do the required preparation for the “One Nation One Election”.
According to a survey, there are 77% chances that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and Centre when elections are held simultaneously because India is a union of states and the central government allots huge money to the government of the same party in the states.