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The Big Picture – One Nation One Poll

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The Prime Minister of India held a meeting of all party meets on 19th June 2019 with the proposal of ‘one nation one poll’ and some other important matters. The idea of ‘one nation one poll’ is to synchronize together with the election of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

The world holds elections in four major proportions of General Elections, State Assembly Elections, Rajya Sabha Elections, and Local Body Elections.

The synchronized cycle was first broke in Kerala, in July 1959, when the center enforces Article 356 of the Constitution to dismiss the ministry headed by EMS Namboodiripad of the communist party, which had assumed power after elections of April 1957.

This concept can help to check on the poll expenses, party expenses, etc. The first election of Lok Sabha took place in the year 1951-52, the elections were debated by 53 parties, around 1874 candidates participated and poll expenses were 11 crores.

In the election of 2019, 610 political parties were there, around 9000 candidates and poll expenses of around 60,000 crore rupees declare by (ADR) Association of Democratic Reforms, still, the actual expense is not declared by political parties.

The main aim of ‘one nation one poll’ is to save public money, reduce the burden on administrative setup, security forces, timely implementation of government policies and to ensure that administrative machinery is engaged in development activities. If election will be held once in a five year, then more time will be provided to political parties, ECI, civilians, paramilitary forces. It is also necessary to solve the problem of governance on the part of the politicians who are ruling.

Yet, the Congress told the committee it is “impractical” and “unworkable”. The CPI and NCP said it is ‘not feasible’. The CPI (M) too pointed at “practical problems”. The Trinamool Congress said it is anti-democratic and unconditional.

There are few of the important Articles that need to be amended before the implementation of ‘one nation, one poll is;

Article 83 & 172 deal with the House of Parliament, and guarantees a five-year term to both the elected Lok Sabha and State Assemblies unless they are dissolved.

Article 85 & 174 deals with the empower of the President and Governor of the state to dissolve Lok Sabha and The Legislative Assembly.

Article 356 it authorizes the Indian Constitution, comes into action in case of governance and constitutional failure of machinery in a state and deals with the President’s Rule

In a draft report on August 30, 2018, the Law Commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan held that simultaneous elections could not be held within an existing framework of the Constitution. These could be held together “through appropriate amendments of the Constitution”, the Representation of the People Act 1951, and the Rules of Procedures of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

If ‘one nation one poll’ implemented than the government had to face some challenges. At present, one voting machine is being used at every polling station for taking a poll if simultaneous elections are there than the requirement of EVMs will get doubled. Security staff and Central Police will be needed double at every election point. There will be difficulty in transporting materials to the polling stations. Normally ECI is already facing problems in storing EVMs after elections.

India can even think for holding elections at the same time, the main problem is only to crack the traditions and conventions that India’s Parliamentary system follows.

There is no doubt that implementation of the ‘One Nation One Poll’ will involve some logistical costs. But there will be saved which in the end will be net saving.

All political parties should at least cooperate in debating this issue public opinion can also be helpful after the debate starts. India is being a mature democracy.

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