One Nation, One Election: Requirement, benefits, significance and more
One Nation, One Election has been in discussion for quite some time now since the new government was formed. The issue gained momentum in 2014 before the general elections in India. The system can help the ruling parties focus on governance instead of being constantly in election mode and can be a significant contributor in boosting voter turnout. Read all about it below.
Why in News?
The topic again came to the forefront after Prime Minister Narendra Modi again raised the issue of One Nation One Election and a single voter list for all polls. As per him since India lacks these two things, development work gets affected at various stages once the model code of conduct is implemented at the time of elections.
The winter session of the state legislature to be held from December 7 to 15 would be debating the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ on the last two days.
One Nation, One Election: Significance
- Elections are held at different places every few months and it hampers the developmental work. Currently, in the Indian regime, elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha are held separately, that is whenever the incumbent government’s five-year term ends or whenever it is dissolved due to various reasons.
- This applies to both the state legislatures, Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The terms of Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha may not synchronize with one another.
One Nation One Election: About the process
- One Nation, One Election would envisage a system where elections to all states and the Lok Sabha would be held simultaneously thus saving time and money.
- This would also involve the restructuring of the Indian election cycle to synchronize state and central elections.
- The voters would be casting their votes for electing members of the LS and the state assemblies on a single day, at the same time, or in a phased manner.
One Nation, One Election: Historical Background
Conducting elections simultaneously was a norm in India until 1967. It was after the dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 and the Lok Sabha in December 1970, that the elections to State Assemblies and Parliament were conducted separately.
It was then in the annual report of the Election Commission in 1983 that shifting back to simultaneous elections was mooted. The Law Commission seconded the move in its report in 1999. When PM Modi talked about it again in 2016, the NITI Aayog prepared a working paper on the subject. The final push was given before the polls of 2014.
Key Recommendations by the Law Commission for One Nation One Election
The Law Commission in its report suggested:
- The leader of the majority party can be elected as the PM or CM by the entire house which in turn would maintain the stability
- In case any government falls midterm, the term of the new government would only be for the remaining period.
- Every no-confidence motion against the Government must be followed by a confidence motion.
One Nation, One Election: One Voter list
The idea of One Nation One election suggests that only one voter list must be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha, and other elections.
A common electoral roll will save the expenditure on the part of the Government but would require various states to bring about a few changes in their respective laws. It would also adopt the ECI voters list for municipal and panchayat polls.
All India Presiding Officers Conference
The conference conducted in Gujarat recently marks the centenary year. The theme for this year was ‘Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary: Key to a Vibrant Democracy’. The conference guides the three wings of the state that is the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary to consider the constitution as their guide. The first conference was conducted in 1921.
One Nation, One Election: Ideas against it
- There is a vast difference between the national and state issues, and holding simultaneous elections can affect the judgment of voters.
- Since elections are conducted once in five years, it would lead to a reduction in the government’s accountability towards the people. Different elections keep all the ministers and their executives on their toes and increase accountability.
- In case the elections are postponed till the synchronized phase, President’s rule would be imposed in that state. That would again mean lowering the version of democracy and federalism.
One Nation, One Election: Way forward
The consensus among parties and the population of India is essential for any such amendment. All of them need to be on the same page to implement this move. It would be a time and money-saving action which however can result in decreased accountability but one cannot deny that the elections would be conducted once every 5 years and the country's economy suffers some dents through multiple elections.