This Article is written by Shreya Tripathi of Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur. She has discussed “One Nation, One Election” An interesting concept for our country.
In reality, elections are the way to make changes in a country because the elected people are expected to make policies and plans for the country and its welfare. It seems to be impossible to hold a credible election without reforming the electoral system. Firing on the shoulder of Election Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government have floated another trial balloon. This ruling BJP took inspiration from the U.S. and came up with the idea of holding the elections across the country on a single day. Mr Narendra Modi has taken an effective step for the development of the country. As BJP rides the momentum after its resounding success in U.P Elections, One Nation, One Election is the next big gamble just as demonetisation that brings a huge win for the party in Central and State elections. In India, the concept of frequent elections is followed which should be changed now, as the voters are tired of door patterns in the State. Thus, One Nation, One Election as national formation seems to be preferred by the people and replicated in States too. It could be a win-win chance for Modi government in 2019 Elections if the reform gets a pass but simultaneous election is a serious issue to deliberate upon.
The concept of simultaneous election
This concept is not new in India. After the independence and enforcement of the constitution, the first election which was conducted in the year of 1952 was conducted simultaneously. It was in practical from 1952 to 1970. This concept was ended when 4th Lok Sabha was dissolved early due to the premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 & 1969, the cycle got disrupted. It was Indira Gandhi, who acted as a blithely confident parent of most of independent India’s institutional disruption, who first detached general elections from state elections. She had split the Congress in 1969 and was intent on pushing through a constitutional amendment to abolish privy purses, and in pursuit of a bigger mandate proposed general elections due in 1972 to March 1971. As a result of premature dissolutions and extension of terms of both the Lok Sabha and various state assemblies, the last 48 years have seen separate elections to the Lok Sabha and the assemblies. This recommendation is suggested by our Prime Minister Mr Narenda Modi and as well as promoted by Mr Pranab Mukherjee. This brings an electoral transformation in India. It would be a good change if, the proper implication of policies and rules taking care of the rising need for good administrative officials is carried out. Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.
The energy is well received maintained by the majority of people. There are many advantages by opting this method because at present in India we have different State elections every year which creates competition between the parties. The BJP government came up with One Nation,One Election so that all the 29 states have an election at the same time which will help in saving the cost, as well as time for the government and money spent, can be reduced. It is an issue on which there are equal number of people on both sides of the argument, those who support it and those against. Elections give a boost to the economy at a grass-root level creating work opportunities for lakhs of people We can have a view on the following Pros and Cons of this concept which helps in better analysis, they are:
- Elections are not only time taking process but hectic and expensive to the government and it spends a huge amount in the campaign for their election, just to win votes. This amount could be put to better use. As you can take the recent example, Mr Narendra Modi made movie, web series and comic book on his character. All this is what? Nothing just an indirect promotion or advertisement.
- Most of the time is used by the politicians for planning and plotting the game for their campaign that can be used for productive work and in the interest of common people.
- Election at the same time in all over India will make politicians work more for the development of the country for grabbing more votes just to win the elections which would give them ample of time for policy framing.
- This would not only stop corruption but will also unite people at the same time and remove discrminitation made on the basis of caste system and bring back the peace of the nation and unity among the people.
- The frequent poll will create competition among the parties as in India the major developments only take during the election times which will result in the development of infrastructure, roads and other facilities.
- Frequent elections provide momentary employment, boost domestic consumption and also prevent the transfer of power to a single entity.
- Riots will not take place using different parties name.
- It will be good for those who reside outside India because if they come to vote during election then there will be an opportunity for them to vote for all elections at once.
- It is not an easy process to be carried out in India as villages and cities will gather together to cast votes which can lead to chaos. Further lack of administrative staff and attack on booth capturing is not something that the public wants in exchange for their time.
- Politicians try to make their goodwill among the public and keep a check as they know they can be accountable for their actions, wrongful act of their party members which could snatch their powers. This fear is good to keep the minimum check.
- Holding both the elections at the same time can lead to mixing of national and state issues where national issues will overlap and politicians won’t be able to give their best.
- Election period put a good amount of work into the bags of politicians. Cutting down of election will make them inactive and lazy, which would not be fair enough thus the present matter plays an effective role here.
- Our Nation is developing and so, no one will follow the laws strictly because the government will be far away from the places.
- The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which comes into force with the announcement of poll dates, prevent the government from announcing any news, make new appointments, transfer and posting without the approval of election commission this brings normal work of government to stand still.
- It also destabilizes duly elected governments & imposes a heavy burden on the exchequer.
- Due to frequent elections, the government is trapped in short thinking & also increases the cost of management to the election commission which has been estimated as Rs 9000 crore.
- It also puts pressure on smaller political parties, a selection is becoming increasingly expensive.
- Challenging Constitution provisions and amendments have to be amended to either curtail and extend the term of some of the State assemblies to enable the election commission to draw up a Common Pool Schedule. (Articles 83, 85, 172 and 174)
- Same parties governing at Central and State level.
In the present scenario, many people are talking about it and it is a core concern in a country like India as it can bring disastrous change in our country. If carried out effectively it would surely make good changes. Winning or losing the election is a secondary part but the main motive is Strengthening the country. One Nation, One language emphasizing on making Hindi as a core medium of communication in the nation. Another such policy which is One Nation, One Tax was introduced currently in the form of GST, the implementation of GST took three years as they didn’t have a full majority in Rajya Sabha but further it resulted in more productive work for the country.
One Nation, One Poll is a fantastic idea to imagine within our mind but it is not as easy as we think it can be. A case of “using a hammer to kill a fly that is likely to end up with a broken surface and not a dead fly”. If One India, One Election is possible the government which form in Central have a majority in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha then they can easily implement the good policies. Frequent elections have its own merits, politicians who tend to forget voters after the elections for 5 years, have to return to them & keep them on their toes. The clear picture of elections which take place in front of us is state government elections and the other one is Central government election. State government election is an election conducted at the State level to appoint the CM of State with the help of elected MLA of a particular area in the State. CM of the State is a King of its State who takes care of it and works for public welfare for a particular State. On the Other hand, the national election which covers the whole country is an election conducted for the PM of the country who is the King of a nation elected with the help of elected MP’s. He carefully watches and keeps an eye on the activities going within the territory of their country and has control over it. The need of State election arises as the PM cannot have an effective control due to a huge population in India and cannot approach to all places that’s the reason why there is a need to have one more election committee to approach every single person of the Country. There would be many hurdles, but if we cross them India can achieve its goal.
There were few questions which were to be answered such as
- Was India ready to shun the traditional election mechanism and make way for One India, One Election?
- Does India had the feasibility to adopt this concept?
- Either it would have reduced or increased more corruption in the country?
- How efficiently we had conducted the election not only for the number of votes but also for the manpower and safe poll?
- What would be the Impact on delivery of essential services?
As per Parliamentary Committee Recommendations to hold simultaneous elections, 2 conditions were to be met
- A motion for a nearly general election must be agreed to by at least 2/3rd of the members present in the house.
- No confidence motion must be passed by the house and with no alternative government being conferred within 14 days of passing a confidence motion.
The committee also recommended that elections could be held in two phases. It stated that elections to some legislative assemblies could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha. Elections to their main legislative assemblies could be held with the end of Lok Sabha term. The ministry had submitted that although such a proposal was possible the cost involved would be over Rs 9,000 crore. This exercise will require large scale purchase of Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail Machine and this will have to be replaced every 15 years which would again entail more expenditure. The election commission will also need more central armed forces personnel for development at separate polling booths meant for Lok Sabha and State Assembly election. It will also lead to the saving of time and a lot of resources that are going into elections expenses for social security scheme.
“Regardless of who wins, an election should be a time for optimism and fresh approaches”.
Evidence from other countries suggests that simultaneous elections do indeed have a nationalising effect on political competition that is national parties will have more advantage than regional parties. As an alternative to One Nation, One Election suggests avoiding expenses and time wastage on election our government should start an online voting system. It was easy to implement and a number of voters could increase too many by giving rights to vote from any State to his particular region. We had assumed an average of 70% voting but we could increase it to 90% by starting an online voting system. We have saved our money either. Many students or people were not able to vote for their leader due to insufficient and shortage of time and place. The online voting system was implemented & it was easy for everyone to cast votes as rural and urban both had internet facilities which made it easy, efficient and effective in a voting system. But One India, One Election was very hard for an ordinary man.
Finally, it can be said that our country is developing and there is a need of a big leader with the power of authority for all places so that the activities could be carried out in the proper manner in the society. It is time to ponder behind the borderline and traditional ceiling and try to perceive the execution of the simultaneous elections. As we have heard of more hands more help can be easily seen here, each work needs a lot of force to do and this force can be applied here to complete our work with the help of one election.
Let’s take an example of Demonetization. Wasn’t it a tough job? But at last we did it and now the situations are normal. Similarly One India, One Election can be possible if we decide nothing is impossible. But before it, there is a need to make strong election commission and security, to educate and guide the people about it then only it is possible. Politicians from different states spend their maximum time in planning strategies for their party instead of giving full attention to problems of common people, they become greedy for votes and power. As a result, the common public is the sufferer. In maximum cases, Central government involve as people’s problem are not taken effectively will result in the involvement of central and resolving their dispute. Thus both central and state are equally important otherwise power will be concentrated in one hand and chaos will arise in the country which will also lead to ignorance of common people and their problems. We believe India has the capability and it can do this if every Indian unite and work for this idea in a positive manner, leaving all the evils back, being selfish and greedy, let’s make a new start not just for our own benefit but for the development of country and interest of common people. India already has major issues like poverty, unemployment, corruption so to eliminate them we need to bring some change and it could only be possible by every individual’s effort. It’s time to think upon and take action on it otherwise it will be ill-suited for the India of today when the differences among its states are the starkest in the world.
Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just one person – a government based on principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice that struggle continues.