The idea of one nation-one election is to synchronize the Lok Sabha elections conducted pan-India and the State Legislative Assembly elections so that they take place together once in every five years and saves the nation from being drained of money, resources and manpower due to frequent elections.
One Nation one Election is not new in India. The first 4-5 elections held in India after Independence followed this notion and were successfully conducted across the country. Now to avoid the multiplicity of election dates and expenses for Parliament and Assembly elections which are conducted separately, presently the NDA government is thinking to go for practice of “one nation one election”.
Back Ground: Need for One Nation One Election
The idea of “One Nation One Election” is not new for India. India had the system of One Nation One Election and implemented it during the general elections held in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967.
This practice was discontinued in 1968-69, on the grounds that some Legislative Assemblies were broken up due to different reasons. From that point India has been making a decent attempt to embrace the old election system but there is no consensus among the political parties.
During the past few years, it has been observed that every now and then elections are happening in one or other state of India. The State Administration and Election Commission of India have to connect with its assets, labor to conduct the election. India is known as the largest democratic country of the world and unless there are mid term polls due to dissolution of Lok Sabha or State Assembly for any reason, the general elections of Lok Sabha and state assemblies are supposed to be conducted after every five years.
One Nation One Election: Benefits are More
The greatest rationale in the support of the simultaneous election is the saving of government money. If the country goes for “One Nation One Election” it will save huge amount of money. There are 4120 MLAs in the 31 states and UTs the use limit for assembly election is Rs.28 lacks. It implies that absolute expense would be somewhere around Rs. 11 billon. Normally around 5 states go for elections each year.
The idea therefore, promises cutting of expenditure on elections which is significant considering its context in a country like India where elections involve an astronomical amount of money.
Improvement in Economy with Money Saved
The money saved will help the Government to keep the focus on improving the slowing down economy, healthcare, education, condition of farmers and not on rallies to be conducted for elections which is conducted in half a dozen states every now and then.
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Will Help 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 programmes of the central and state governments.
Getting Rid of False Promises
Vote bank appeasement becomes the buzz word during elections. With elections around the corner ,most political parties resort to contrivances to win or devastate reputation of different parties. They devise strategies just those which would win a bit leeway for the vote bank and help in winning elections. People are sick of this sort of submission as these lawmakers prevent the passage of long-term useful polices but promote which give them dividends.
If elections are not held frequently, the administration will go ahead with worthwhile plans and development based projects instead of election season focused plans. Even state and central government need not prepare lucrative budget with sops every year and they can take decisions for the development of economy.
Social Welfare Focused Government Functioning
Delays in Government working can be stopped which is caused by repeated conduct of elections. Exchequer incurs colossal labor and money to conduct free and fair elections in the country and states. One Nation One Election concept will help the Schools and universities open on time; educators to work without fear of vacation every now and then. This will have positive on the life of overall population.
Obstacles in Implementation
- 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.
- 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.
- Another major drawback will be the need to conduct all the state assembly elections simultaneously as well, once the Legislative is dissolved which might prove needless yet mandatory.
- As it can be clearly seen the plan does hold promise but to implement it successfully the government must fully follow its marketed tagline of ‘Sabka saath Sabka vikaas’ as this system can’t be smoothly executed without the collaboration of the other parties fighting to save their identities.
New Government Serious on the Issue
If there is any government in the recent years that can successfully implement the idea of one nation-one election by amending the constitution in the largest democracy of the world it is the present BJP government which retained power with a tally of over 300 seats in the recent Loksabha polls 2019.
The vision of the party in power - Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) under the leadership of the country’s Prime-Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is also to set the platform for a development mindset as this system is supposed to set free politicians, government officials and the state resources from the hassle of organizing elections in different parts of the country every year now and then and completely direct the government machinery on solid groundwork rather than needless formalities.
The idea, as expected was not well received by the opposition parties striving hard to save their identity in this Modi dominated era. An all party meeting called on by Narendra Modi was attended by only 21 parties. Eleven major parties in the political front of India including Indian National Congress voiced their opinion against this ambitious proposal by skipping the all party meeting on the issue.
There are no significant examples of countries with a similar federal parliamentary system conducting simultaneous elections like the one proposed by the one nation-one election agenda. The Bharatiya Janata Party has never been averse to change and now making all out efforts to make this plan a reality. It is something the world has never seen and it does pose a few problems as well but if implemented to perfection we might actually see a new resurgent India.