CAN WE ACHIEVE IT…?

With BJP’s renewed political invincibility and the Prime Minister Modi revelling in risk-taking rolling out a rapid sequel to economic and systemic reforms, now it needs to be seen how fast the nation can achieve the target of one nation one election which is one of the systemic reforms mooted by none other than PM Modi himself. It needs to be recalled that till 1960s, general and state elections were held combined in the period of single-party dominance by the Congress. However, the advent of coalition politics led to premature dissolution of the Assemblies thus altering timelines for the state elections under compulsion. India has already proved its electoral mettle and the Election Commission can change code of conduct. We need to brainstorm on implementation of holding simultaneous polls across the nation now as it could be the greatest electoral reform in India when finally implemented on ground. There has been a lot of discussion and debate on electoral reforms for years but it took the fore front especially after Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India. It has been felt since long that there is a dire need to design a system for the nation to ensure that good candidates come forward in elections to various institutions right from the Panchayat to Parliamentary level failing which there is every apprehension of the very purpose of democracy getting defeated in the world’s largest democracy. It is a fact that Westminster system has probably not worked well in India and this is not due to any inherent shortcomings in the functioning of this Westminster model but due to the way the functioning of this model system has been totally distorted. In such a scenario there is a need for drastic electoral reforms and this can be achieved by beginning with the cleansing of the Westminster system of the dross that has destroyed its vitality. In this context there is a general opinion that three simple electoral reforms can fix most of the defects in Indian electoral system i.e. State funding of elections, Audit of electoral expenses and last but not the least the establishment of special fast track courts to take up cases of corruption and criminal charges against elected representatives in both the state as well as central legislatures. It is an irony that the country witnesses elections regularly, because of which everything gets linked to polls and frequent elections affect the functioning of bureaucracy. Not only this, there is also involvement of huge funds which can be drastically reduced by holding simultaneous elections to Panchayat bodies, assemblies and Parliament besides avoiding unnecessary wastage of time. Since the poll scenario dominates the nation for most of the time, therefore everything gets linked to polls with every decision being weighed in the balance of elections. It is high time to de-link decisions taken from the elections. The earlier we do so, the better it would be. However this could require even a Constitutional amendment through which the Parliament can have same fixed tenure for all institutions thus also saving the nation from frequent elections. The earlier it is done, the better it would be.