One India One Election – Pros and ConsAnisha Mukhija
Achievers GDPI Workshop: Concept Builder
Topic : One India One Election – Pros and Cons
What is the Concept –
This provides for holding of the elections of the Centre and the state together. Till 1960s, the general elections and the state elections were held together but after the 60s the phase of coalition politics came into force in the state elections where the governments were less stable and had to be dismissed. This led to different times of the elections in the state. The central government has also been dismissed many times before the full term of five years and this led to disruption in the simultaneous election processes.
Problems of holding elections at different times-
Frequent elections affect policymaking and governance as the government is trapped in short-term thinking.
It also destabilizes duly-elected governments and imposes a heavy burden on the exchequer.
It also puts pressure on political parties, especially smaller ones, as elections are becoming increasingly expensive.
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which comes into force with the announcement of poll dates, prevents government from announcing any new schemes, make any new appointments, transfers and postings without the approval of election commission. This brings normal work of the government to a standstill.
It also increases the cost of management to the election commission.
Benefits of frequent elections –
One, politicians, who tend to forget voters after the elections for five years have to return to them. This enhances accountability, keeps them on their toes.
Two, elections give a boost to the economy at the grassroots level, creating work opportunities for lakhs of people.
Three, there are some environmental benefits also that flow out of the rigorous enforcement of public discipline like non-defacement of private and public property, noise and air pollution, ban on plastics, etc.
Four, local and national issues do not get mixed up to distort priorities. In voters’ minds, local issues overtake wider state and national issues.
Besides, a staggered electoral cycle also acts as a check against demagoguery, fascism and oligarchy, in that order.
It also ensures that the mood of the nation at a particular moment does not hand over political power across a three-tiered democratic structure to one dispensation or individual. It gives people a chance to distinguish between the national, state and local interests, rather than being swept away in a “wave”, often manufactured by corporate media and the economic muscle of commercial carpetbaggers.
Why it is difficult to go for simultaneous elections?
The biggest challenge is achieving political consensus, which seems to be “chimerical”. Regional parties will be more opposed to the idea than national parties because 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.