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One Nation One Election

Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

One Nation, One Election:


Context:

PM recently again pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, saying it is the need of the country as elections taking place every few months hamper development works.

  • This was suggested at the recently held 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference.
  • He also suggested that only one voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections.

What is ‘One Nation, One Election’?

It refers to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five year.

But, what are the challenges posed by frequent elections?

  1. Massive expenditure.
  2. Policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time.
  3. Impact on delivery of essential services.
  4. Burden on crucial manpower that is deployed during election time.
  5. Puts pressure on political parties, especially smaller ones, as elections are becoming increasingly expensive.

Benefits 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.
  • Continuity in policies and programmes.
  • Efficiency of Governance: Populist measures by governments will reduce.
  • The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.

Impact on Regional parties:

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.

For simultaneous elections to be implemented, Changes to be made in Constitution and Legislations:

  1. Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment.
  2. Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president).
  3. Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures).

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:

  1. Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
  2. A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Model Code of Conduct?
  2. Powers of the Election Commission to conduct elections.
  3. Overview of the Representation of People Act, 1951 Act.
  4. Overview of Articles- 83, 85 and 172.

Mains Link:

Discuss the merits and demerits of the concept of “One nation, One election” for Indian polity.

Sources: the Hindu.