Don’t we think, in India frequent elections are like celebrating festivals Election Commission of India conduct selection after one or two or three months in India. Holding frequent elections is big problem in India. Frequent elections, according to experts, hamper long-term policy making because every decision is seen as bait for votes.
‘One Nation, One Election’ means structuring the Indian election cycle in such a manner that elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are synchronized together. In such a scenario, a voter would normally cast his/her vote for electing members of Lok Sabha and State Assembly on a single day and at same time. We all are aware that in 1952, for the first Lok Sabha elections costed around Rs 11 crore, while in 2014 general elections, the government spent almost Rs 3,870 crore. In 2019, and there was 40 per cent jump from 2014 costing an unprecedented Rs. 50,000 Crores, according to New Delhi based Centre for Media Studies. And these are just paper records and estimates. Add to this the cost of various incentives like television sets, goats, liquor and other personal goods to influence voters. It was among the world’s most expensive elections. Preparing and conducting elections costs the public exchequer hundreds of crore each time and the money is mostly spent on arrangements, salaries and security. Thus holding simultaneous polls will lead to significant savings of public funds that can be better utilised elsewhere. Almost all political parties spend large sums of money in ensuring that no stone is left unturned during campaigning. Holding simultaneous elections will ensure that the ministers can dedicate a good four years towards implementing policies and doing constructive work for their constituencies. The cost of such elections, the inevitable allegations of corruption and vote buying along with expense of providing security and the logistics of conducting one election after another is raising call for electoral reforms across the country. The code of conduct, which effectively stops all the agendas of government, will be enforced only once, giving more time to Governments to perform.
The Law Commission headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, in its May 1999 report said, “We must go back to the situation where the elections to Lok Sabha and all the Legislative Assemblies are held at once”. We can save unnecessary wastage of public wealth, shift of focus from governance because of multiple elections, wastage of security forces, wastage of time for teachers and other bank officers and government officers being appointed as individual booth officials.
With elections taking place at various schedules, political parties and ministers are always in election mode which disrupts and distorts agendas with parties deferring reforms or make decisions with short-term views, thereby depriving citizens of clear policies. Apart from money, the other significant resource needed in abundance is deployment of security forces. Holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state legislatures will free up security forces, which are diverted from their core duties for each election. The winning party gets clear mandate in all houses and is increasingly prone to become autocratic and corrupt, sensing invincibility.
With elections being announced the MCC comes into force. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which comes into force with the announcement of poll dates, prevents government from announcing any new schemes, making any new appointment, transfer and postings without the approval of election commission. It brings normal work of the government to a standstill. Expenses for conducting elections are not only incurred by the Election Commission but also by the Government at both the centre and State level. The Government of India is burdened with the expenses of conducting elections for the Lok Sabha. With every successive election there is a rise in the expenditure in conducting elections which is a burden on the exchequer. With the implementation of a single election in five years, there will be overall decline in the expenses incurred by the Government, which they can utilise for the betterment of the people.
It is nice that the present Modi Government is working and has made the ‘One Nation’ theory as their most peculiar aspect in order to rule and maintain the ongoing nation. The scheme of GST is under the One nation, One tax theory. Thus, the ‘One nation’ theory has also been in thoughts for elections in India.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit