ONE NATION ONE ELECTION

  • The issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies has been referred to the Law Commission for further examination.
  • Currently, elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha are held separately.
  • Whenever the incumbent government’s five-year term ends or whenever it is dissolved due to various reasons.
  • The idea of “One Nation, One Election” envisages a system where elections to all states and the Lok Sabha will have to be held simultaneously.
  • This will involve the restructuring of the Indian election cycle in a manner that elections to the states and the centre synchronise.
  • This would mean that the voters will cast their vote for electing members of the LS and the state assemblies on a single day, at the same time (or in a phased manner as the case may be).

Background

  • Simultaneous elections are not new to India.
  • They were the norm until 1967.
  • Since 1970 elections to State Assemblies and Parliament have been held separately.
  • The idea of reverting to simultaneous polls was mooted in the annual report of the Election Commission in 1983.
  • The Law Commission’s Report also referred to it in 1999.
  • The Niti Aayog prepared a working paper on the subject in 2017. 

Arguments for simultaneous elections:

  • Simultaneous polls will reduce enormous costs involved in separate elections.
  • The system will help ruling parties focus on governance instead of being constantly in election mode.
  • Simultaneous polls will boost voter turnout.
  • Arguments against simultaneous polls
  • National and state issues are different, and holding simultaneous elections is likely to affect the judgment of voters.
  • Since elections will be held once in five years, it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people.
  • Repeated elections keep legislators on their toes and increases accountability.
  • When an election in a State is postponed until the synchronised phase, President’s rule will have to be imposed in the interim period in that state.
  • This will be a blow to democracy and federalism.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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