Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
One Nation One Election
What to study?
For prelims and mains: One Nation One Election- need, challenges associated, concerns and significance.
Context: PM Modi calls for all-party meet on ‘one nation, one election’.
Simultaneous elections refer to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five year.
Problems associated with frequent elections:
- The massive expenditure that is currently incurred for the conduct of separate elections.
- The policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time.
- Impact on delivery of essential services.
- Burden on crucial manpower that is deployed during election time.
- Frequent elections affect policymaking and governance as the government is trapped in short-term thinking.
- It also destabilises duly-elected governments and imposes a heavy burden on the exchequer.
- It also puts pressure on political parties, especially smaller ones, as elections are becoming increasingly expensive.
- The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which comes into force with the announcement of poll dates, prevents government from announcing any new schemes, make any new appointments, transfers and postings without the approval of election commission. This brings normal work of the government to a standstill.
- It also increases the cost of management to the election commission.
Merits of Simultaneous elections:
- Governance and consistency: The ruling parties will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.
- Reduced Expenditure of Money and Administration: The entire State and District level administrative and security machinery will be busy with the conduct of elections twice in a period of five years as per the current practice. Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
- Continuity in policies and programmes.
- Efficiency of Governance: Simultaneous elections can bring the much-needed operational efficiency in this exercise. Populist measures by governments will reduce.
- Simultaneous elections can also be a means to curb corruptionand build a more conducive socio-economic ecosystem.
- The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.
But, why it is difficult to go for simultaneous elections?
- The biggest challenge is achieving political consensus, which seems to be “chimerical”.
- Regional parties will be more opposed to the idea than national parties because there is always a tendency for voters to vote the same party in power in the state and at the Centre in case the Lok Sabha polls and the state elections are held together.
- Also, according to IDFC, there is a 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and Centre when elections are held simultaneously.
For simultaneous elections to be implemented, Changes to be made in Constitution and Legislations:
Amendments needed in the following articles:-
- Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment
- Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president)
- Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures)
- Article 174 (relating to dissolution of state assemblies)
- Article 356 (on President’s Rule).
- 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. This should include the following crucial elements:
- Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
- A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act.
Sources: the Hindu.
Mains Question: Analyze the feasibility of holding simultaneous election in India in the near future?