ONE NATION ONE ELECTION…!

The elections in India be it Parliamentary or the State Assembly elections, have always been appreciated by the whole world and this is the greatest achievement and success story of the Indian Democracy. However there has been an opinion across the nation that the elections taking place to different state assemblies as well as the parliament at different times and keeping the Parliamentarians and the state legislators besides the government men and machinery busy almost every year results in a great loss to the nation in terms of time, resources and overall productivity. Even the former President Pranab Mukherjee as well as the PM Narender Modi have also been the votaries of holding joint elections across the nation in a single go so that the nation gets benefited. Though the efforts stand already initiated in this direction, yet it seems that these need to be paced up. In this regard only a couple of days back it was reported that seeking to give shape to the Government’s concept of ‘one nation, one election’, a law commission internal working paper has recommended holding of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in two phases first beginning in 2019 and the second phase of simultaneous polls can take place in 2024. This indeed is a highly appreciable development which is welcome by one and all across the nation. The groundwork that needs to be completed before hand includes amendments in the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act to shorten or extend the terms of State Legislative Assemblies to make the move effective. These suggested amendments are in line with the ones recommended by a parliamentary panel and the Niti Aayog and the working paper will be discussed by the ‘full commission’ on April 17. Though it is a draft document and if members suggest, changes could be made before a final report is submitted to the Law Ministry, yet it is a commendable job in the direction of ‘One nation one election’. Past experience has proved beyond doubt that not only the election process in India is quite mature but even the voters have turned highly mature and smart enough to be fooled by the politicians any more. While this is a quite encouraging development in the nation’s election history now there is a dire need to focus on holding polls simultaneously across the nation. This in fact 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 has taken 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 as candidates 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. In order to bring in the much needed electoral reforms there are multiple issues including 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. However holding elections to the Parliament and the state Assemblies simultaneously will be the revolutionary reform in the nation’s electoral system. While the Law Commission is already on the job, it is hoped that all the stakeholders especially the political parties and the Election Commission of India will girdle up the loins and accelerate their efforts to achieve ‘One Nation One Election’ at the earliest.