Election simply is an act of casting votes to elect an individual for a specific position in the government. It is the backbone of the democratic government of India, wherein the political decisions are made directly by the citizens of the country.
- Election, as seen in India
India is called the largest democratic country of the world. 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.
- One nation one election
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.
The idea of simultaneous elections is not new to India. The general elections to the Parliament and the State Assemblies were held together for the first twenty years post-independence. However, the dissolution of some state assemblies in 1969, the dissolution of the Parliament in 1970, and the general elections in 1971 disrupted the cycle.
ADVANTAGES OF ONE NATION, ONE ELECTION
- Less expenditure
The one nation one election will help to save a huge amount of money. There are about 4120MLAs in the 31states and UTs. Conducting elections separately costs around hundreds of crores each time. A considerable amount of money is spent on the arrangements, salaries and securities. The graph shows increasing amount of expense on the elections over the years.
- Smooth functioning of the Government
Engagement of polling staff and security personnel for significantly prolonged periods during elections is a mammoth, complex, and time-consuming activity. It leads to disruptions in the duties of public servants frequently.
- Would speed up development work
Code of Conduct during election period is imposed and it happens every now and then in one or other state. When the Model Code of Conduct is in force, new projects for public welfare cannot be launched. Accordingly, one-time election will ensure continuity in policies, projects and program of the central and state governments.
- Efficiency of Governance
If the elections are going to be a once-in-five-years affair, the ruling parties can better dedicate their time to developmental activities, mandated to them by the electorate. Also, the government need not to woo general public through lucrative schemes and make caste and religion-based programs. Moreover, there would be substantial reduction in hate speeches, violence and other law and order problems.
- Attack on the parallel economy
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 simultaneously, it would act as an attack on the parallel economy.
OBSTACLES IN IMPLEMENTATION
- Delay in results
As the elections would be conducted on a larger scale, right from capturing the votes to the counting procedure, it will be a very tedious and time-consuming process. Also, a proper voting system must be used to handle such huge number of votes efficiently, so that there would be no tampering of the votes.
- Majority required
The passing of the bill for one nation one election will require backing of at least half of the members of both the houses of parliament. If it is passed in lower house, it needs nod from upper house also.
- The fear of being over-powered
Elections are the greatest mediums for the people to get their voices heard and if the major ones are conducted only once in five years the masses will fear of being ignored by the executive who will gain greater power after the system is implemented.
- Resources required
This new process shall require manpower and machinery (EVMs and VVPATs) on a humongous scale. Managing all the work that is done over the period of 5 years, in a day seems to be challenging
- A good concept
From the point of view of the EC and election management, simultaneous polls are a brilliant idea. After all, the voter, polling booths, election staff and the security forces are the same. Hence, the concept seems to be to just convenient but economical too.
- The constitution
The Constitution does provide sufficient room to make amendments to suit the changing times and needs of the country. This flexibility is not just an enabling tool but in fact a responsibility on Governments to provide the best governance systems, processes and opportunities to its citizens.
- Limited expenses
To cure the uncontrolled campaign expenditure, we can introduce a cap on the expenditure of the political parties.
- Acceptance required
Elections impact everyone in the entire country – citizens, businesses, administrative machinery, constitutional institutions, political parties, leaders and so on. Without a general consensus and wider acceptance, the intent and efficacy of one nation one election could be compromised.
Thus, we can say that there are many challenges for implementing these changes, but we must not shy away from bringing these much-needed reforms in our system. If implemented to perfection we might actually see a new resurgent India. Because, this is not just about elections, but good governance too!!
If you want to have a brief idea about how to present these points in front of a group, do watch the video-