OPINION | Risk involved with simultaneous elections

The Law Commission of India on Thursday submitted a draft report to the Law Ministry in which it recommended holding of simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha (LS) and the State Legislative Assemblies.

However, it kept the state of Jammu and Kashmir out of it.

The Commission said that to prevent the country from being in constant election mode, holding simultaneous elections to the lower house of Parliament and state assemblies is a solution.

In its draft report to the government, the Commission recommended changes in the Constitution and the electoral law to hold the massive exercise. Within the existing framework of the Constitution, holding simultaneous poll is impossible, the executive body pointed out.

History:

In India, the concept of simultaneous poll is not new. After the country got Independence and Constitution of India came into effect, the first election which was conducted in the year 1952 was conducted simultaneously.

From 1952 to 1970 (1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967), it was in practice and the concept ended when the fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved before time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi again raised this recommendation now. Former President Pranab Mukherjee and current President Ram Nath Kovind also supported the idea.

Benefits:

Obviously, One Nation-One Election has many benefits.

Such an exercise will save public money.

As per information, during the 2014 general election, the expenditure was approximately Rs 3,765 crore. Per voter, the cost was Rs 1,375. Using over one million electronic voting machines (EVMs), the votes were cast. Election involved an electorate of 863,500,000 people and was conducted in nine stages.

In addition to one general election (every five-year), country witnesses three-four Assembly elections every year. So, one can easily imagine that how much money is needed.

Once again, if all these elections can take place at one time, then definitely a lot of money could be saved.

It will also help in reducing the burden on administrative setup which will, in turn, be able to concentrate on the better implementation of government policies.

Also, there will be less hassle for security forces as every time an election takes place, for conducting it in a free and fair manner, a large number of security forces need to be deployed.

Simultaneous polls will also bring the country out of a continuous election mode.

So what’s the catch?

If simultaneous elections are so good for the country then why many political parties are opposing it?

Allow me to explain.

Simultaneous polls involve the possibility of same government at the centre and in the states like it had happened in the year 1952, 1957 and 1962.

When the simultaneous elections take place, a voter wants to elect a candidate of that party which has high chances of coming to the power at the centre.

In other words, if a candidate is good but his party has less chances of coming to power at the centre then the voters, despite knowing the fact that he is a deserving candidate, may not vote for him. Thus there will be no fair voting and the same will harm the very soul of the democracy. The situation could be like one party in power in the whole country with no opposition.

In case the LS polls and the state elections are held together, there is always a tendency for voters to vote the same party in the state and at the centre.

So keeping this thing in mind, I believe, it’s better if we avoid simultaneous polls, even if the present process of election involves a little hardship.

About the author: Author is Deputy Editor in India TV and tweets at@AnuragSason

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of India TV.

(Feature image courtesy: Sheeraz Rizvi-Facebook)

 

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