Asian News Makers
India Insight

Road Ahead for One Nation One Election in India!

ANM Bureau

As India goes to polls in next few months it is simultaneously working on the possibilities of implementing One Nation One Election concept. The high-level commission which was set up in September 2023 to study the implications issued a public notice inviting suggestions from the public, “for making appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections in the country”.

As the world’s largest democracy India has a challenge of conducting “free and Fair” elections every five years for 28 state governments along with a general election for choosing the government for the centre. The current government has been working over the idea of “One Nation, One Election” as a potential solution to streamline the electoral process.

Understanding One Nation, One Election

“One Nation, One Election” simply means simultaneously holding together all elections in India, including the general election, elections for 28 state assemblies and the local bodies. Currently, India witnesses a series of elections at various levels, including parliamentary, state assembly, and local body elections, which often lead to a continuous cycle of political campaigns and governance disruptions.

The proponents of this concept argue that holding all elections together would reduce the burden on the Election Commission, save costs, and ensure better governance.

One Nation One Election panel led by former president of India Ram Nath kovind has sought public suggestions for potential changes in the legal framework to facilitate simultaneous elections in India.  As per the Public notice the suggestions received by January 15 would be taken up for consideration. The committee previously sought views from political parties and engaged with the law commission on the matter.

Advantages of One Nation, One Election

Cost Reduction: Conducting multiple elections throughout the year incurs significant expenses for the government. By synchronising all elections, the financial burden on the exchequer can be significantly reduced. This saved expenditure can be redirected towards developmental projects, welfare schemes, and infrastructure development, ultimately benefiting the citizens.

Efficient Governance: Frequent elections disrupt the governance process as political parties shift their focus from governance to campaigning. With simultaneous elections, elected representatives can concentrate on their responsibilities without the constant distraction of electioneering. This would lead to more stable and efficient governance, enabling policymakers to focus on long-term development plans and address the needs of the people.

Voter Engagement: Continuous elections often lead to voter fatigue and reduced voter turnout. Simultaneous elections would generate greater interest and participation among voters, as they would have a comprehensive understanding of the political landscape and the opportunity to make informed choices. This would strengthen the democratic process and enhance the legitimacy of elected representatives, as they would truly represent the will of the people.

Policy Continuity: Frequent elections often result in policy discontinuity, as new governments may overturn or modify the policies of their predecessors. Simultaneous elections would provide a longer tenure for elected representatives, allowing them to implement and monitor policies effectively. This would lead to greater policy stability and continuity, providing a conducive environment for long-term planning and development.

Drawbacks of One Nation, One Election

Regional parties will not be able to compete: It is observed that state assemblies and Lok Sabha elections are fought on different issues.Regional parties fought elections on local issues while national parties fought elections on national issues. So there is a strong possibility that regional parties will not be able to raise local issues strongly.As assembly elections are closely associated with local issues and local voters.

Delay in elections results: At present all regional parties are demanding to conduct elections process through ballet paper.If elections are conducted in one time mode then the elections results will be declared very late.

Challenges and Consideration

Constitutional Amendments: Implementing simultaneous elections would require significant amendments to the Constitution of India. The terms of various legislative bodies would need to be synchronised, and provisions for mid-term elections and no-confidence motions would need to be reevaluated. This would require careful deliberation and consensus-building among political parties.

Political Consensus: Achieving political consensus among all political parties is crucial for the successful implementation of One Nation, One Election. Parties may have concerns about the impact on their regional influence and the potential loss of opportunities for by-elections. It is essential to address these concerns and engage in constructive dialogue to ensure the support of all stakeholders.

Infrastructure and Logistics: Conducting simultaneous elections across the vast and diverse Indian landscape poses logistical challenges. The Election Commission would need to ensure adequate resources, including polling booths, electronic voting machines, and security personnel, to facilitate smooth and fair elections. Proper planning and coordination would be necessary to overcome these logistical hurdles.

Related posts