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A Step Towards The One Election

Conducting state assembly and Lok Sabha election at 'one Time' will not only relief the public, economy and administrative load on the 'Election commission' (EC) of India but the government can also function very smoothly without any kind of hurdles caused by the 'Model Code of Conduct' (MCC). However, the Election Commission of India always think that ‘one Election’ will give plenty of time for formulating policies and programmes. At the same time the opposition party is not willing on the BJP's proposal to conduct 'one Election System' in India.

Importantly, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr. S.Y. Quraishi reminded about the recommendations of the ‘Parliamentary Standing Committee’ which mentioned four reasons reiterating the need for simultaneous elections the massive expenditure that is currently incurred for the conduct of separate elections; (ii) the policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time; (iii) Impact on delivery of essential services and (iv) burden of crucial manpower that is deployed during election time. He further added two more reasons - (v) caste and communal polarization peeks during elections and (vi) the practice of promising freebies on the eve of elections. India Foundation, Symposium on “one Nation, one Election”.

Recently, on 7-8 July, 2018 in the National Capital, The law Commission invited all the 7 National and 59 recognized state parties to have a consensus on the 'one Election Proposal' but it has a very low response. The another argument was that the party that the opposition party has said 'one Election' could help poorly performing BJP ruling state to hide their policy failures to overcome the election hurdles. While augmenting to the 'Law Commission' invite Communist Party of India, General Secretary 'Sitaram Yechuri' wrote back saying that the concept is fundamentally Anti-Democratic and hits at the root of 'Parliamentary Democratic System' as established by constitution.

Read Also, Why Electoral Funding at Present is The Fountainhead of Corruption?
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) criticized holding one election, saying  it would beneficial for National Party and weaken the regional parties from raising local issues. Another argument is of Kalyan Banerjee (MP, Trinamool Congress) is the PM's Modi's concept of 'one Nation, one Election' is 'impractical and unconstitutional'. First of all there is no consensus on the 'one Election'. Secondly, Stakeholders including the government, election commission and political Parties should find some agreeable doctrine for conducting one Election.

The NITI Aayog has also favoured this step and argued that one Polls would not only keep alive the interest of voters but also lighten the financial and administrative load on the government and the EC. It would also avoid repeated misuse  of MCC. In December 2017, the parliamentary standing committee on Law observed that several changes would need to be done in case a decision was made in this regard including constitutional amendments.

The MCC which comes into force with the announcement of poll dates, prevents government from announcement any new schemes, make any new appointments, transfers and posting without the approval of EC, it affect policy making and governance as the government is trapped in short term thinking it also destabilizes duly-elected governments and impose a heavy burden on the exchequer, It also Increase the cost of management to the EC etc. these are problems associated with frequent election or one election. Economically, the Elections expenditure in 2009 was Rs 1,100 crores, In 2014 Rs 4,000 crores and is expected to cross in 2019 Lok Sabha Election.

To be sure, there are multiple issues will need to be addressed if the Nation intends to move in this direction. The suggestions of different stakeholders will have to be debated in order to build 'Political Consensus' with regard to 'one Election' system in India. Sure, this will help save public money, it will be very big relief for political parties that are always in campaign mode, also relief for election commission of India.

The role of regional parties are becomes important because such issues are locating in a National Arena only which strengthen the ruling party. So, major aspirations also comes from regional or local level. While Regional parties will be more opposed to the idea than national parties because there is always 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. We need to look at local or panchayat level too. The biggest challenge is achieving political consensus, which seems to be CHIMERICAL alternative methods are also important we need to do more discuss about the concept of one Nation and finalize the best suggestions.

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