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One Nation, One Election: Pros & Cons



  Sep 08, 2023

For and Against: ‘One Nation, One Election


Navin Chawla and SY Quraishi

 

For: A HEAVY POLL TOLL?

Navin B. Chawla, former Chief Election Commissioner, suggests that the idea of simultaneous elections for all levels of government is worth considering. He acknowledges the potential benefits of such a move, including substantial time and cost savings. However, Chawla emphasizes the importance of political consultation and consensus-building before implementing such a reform.
 
Chawla highlights the Election Commission’s continuous engagement in conducting elections throughout the year. Given India’s vast size and population, the process of organizing elections is immense and resource-intensive. The requirement to deploy central government forces due to a lack of confidence in state police further complicates matters. Chawla also points out that the Model Code of Conduct during elections disrupts developmental and welfare schemes.
 
While clubbing elections could result in financial savings for political parties and candidates, Chawla notes the need for initial expenditures to accommodate Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPAT) printers. He also emphasizes that the Constitution’s provisions for five-year terms and issues related to the cycle of elections and potential government instability need to be thoroughly addressed through political consultations.
 

Against: AN UNREALISTIC CHOICE?

S.Y. Quraishi, another former Chief Election Commissioner, presents counterarguments against the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election.’ He points out that the terms of the Lok Sabha and state assemblies generally do not coincide, making simultaneous elections challenging. Quraishi highlights the positive aspects of facing the electorate multiple times, such as enhancing politician accountability and creating jobs.
 
Quraishi addresses the benefits of elections beyond just voting, including enforcing laws that benefit the environment and reducing crime rates. He mentions that the Election Commission has outlined logistical challenges and financial requirements for simultaneous polls, including the need for additional electronic voting machines.
 
Quraishi emphasizes that legal and constitutional challenges make simultaneous elections unfeasible. He suggests that, until political parties reach a consensus on the matter, the focus should be on reducing costs by placing a cap on the expenses incurred by political parties.
 
In summary, the ‘One Nation, One Election’ concept is met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. While proponents see potential benefits in terms of efficiency and cost savings, opponents raise valid concerns about its feasibility, impact on accountability, and legal implications. The discussion remains at the intersection of democratic principles and practical challenges.


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