Yesterday, the Election Commission announced its preparedness to hold simultaneous elections for Loksabha and Vidhansabha by September, 2018. Fortunately for us, some channels took up this important issue for debates sidelining the updates onKangana- Hritik clashes. Anyways, last year in September, 2016, PM Modi had proposed the idea of joint elections for Center and States on ‘MyGov’ platform and had sought the opinions of all including common people, Constitutional and Academic experts and politicians from all parties. But the Media couldn’t give this “high-priority issue” its deserved space as Demonetization saga soon took over the prime coverage for months together.
Modi Government sanctioned Rs 34000 Cr for VV PAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) and Rs 12000 Cr for EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) needed by the Election Commission for the joint elections. By September, 2018, the Election Commission will be equipped to face all the requirements for the simultaneous elections.
Here are some important bullet points, the citizens of India need to know about this historical development.
The Advantages of Concurrant Central and States Elections-
- The country will save billions of rupees: In 2014, the cost incurred in Loksabha Elections alone wasRs 3426 Cr. But the Election Commissioner of India Mr O. P. Rawat said that the total cost of joint elections all over the country will be Rs 4500 Cr only.And as they say, time is money too. Simultaneous elections would save a lot of time of all those involved in the election process.
- Big Relief to the Election Commission, Security Agencies and the Government Machinery: Constant election mode of the country keeps these concerned parties busy all the time. At any given time of the year, some or the other state or local bodies are in the election mode. The simultaneous elections of Center and states will save the time of all the parties for next five years.
- The Central Government and the State Governments can focus onbetter Modus Operandi:With one common period of term for Center as well as States, the governments will get 5 years of undisturbed period for the rolling out of their intended projects. With common available time on hand, the comparision of work within different states will be an easy job. This will give rise to accountability of all state governments. The reshuffling of bureaucrats will not disturb the working of the projects in progress. Election time is always a busy hectic time for politicians either in rule or opposition due to rallies and campaigning for their respective parties. Simultaneous elections will help the Model Code of Conduct of the politicians better and save their time to focus on their work.
- Control on Corruption: Concurrent Loksabha and Vidhansabha elections will ensure the accountability of different states, and hence keep check on corruption.It will also restrict the liberal flow of money funded by land mafia, business tycoons etc to buy votes during campaigning.
- Political Stability:Five years of smooth working period for Center and states will make the country politically stable.
There are a few disadvantages of this policy.
- State level parties might feel pressurized by National level parties.
- State interests might come under jeopardy.
- One Party with strong national level leadership might come victorious in both Center and states elections.
Now let’s check who are in favor of the historic reform of One Nation One Election.
- Election Commission: One time election for Loksabha as well as VidhanSabha will reduce the work substancially for Election Commission.
- Parliament: Parliamentary committee consisting of all party representatives was set up and it submitted a positive ‘Feasibility Report’ about joint elections.
- Ex-President MrPranabMukherji:Pranabji has recommended PM Modi’s proposal from the beginning. He appealed all the parties to come forward to support in this progressive step.
- Prime Minister MrNarendraModi: PM Modi has worked seriously on this phenomenal move. He believes that one nation one poll for all the advantages mentioned above. He says his party is ready to suffer in present for the sake of great future of the country.
- Judiciaries: The Judicial System has backed the policy of concurrent elections and has asked the parliament to pass the constitutional amendments in this regard.
- Political Parties like JDU and Akali Dal:Nitish Kumar (JDU) gave the statement that the development of the country gets hampered by the constant election mode.
Those against the reform of Joint Elections are:
- Congress: Congress LokSabha Leader MallikarjunKharge said clearly that BJP is promoting this reform as it will benefit BJP.
- CPM:Brinda Karat of CPI fears that the state interests will be restricted.
- RJD: Lalu Prasad Yadav is apprehensive about the joint elections being dangerous for State Level Parties.
We had One Nation One Election policy till late 60’s in India. But slowly the pattern changed due to the formation of Coalition Governments.The political parties that are opposing this reform are blaming BJP for conspiring of ‘Total Take Over’ of the Nation in the name of ‘Make Over’
For the implementation of Joint Election Policy, the Constitutional Amendment is required in Parliament with 2/3rd majority. For that, PM Modi may have to wait for some time. There are technical difficulties too. The new state governments like UP would be made to dissolve way too prematurely. The state elections scheduled in 2018 are Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalay. Some supportive parties are suggesting to arrive at some consolidation by holding elections in 15-20 states along with Center and include those newly elected state governments in 2024.
Well, to put it in a nutshell, this reform will put a break on the black money by builders, Land Mafia, Business tycoons flowing in the name of donations for the campaigning of politicians. This historic reform is going to bring a huge change in future, and PM Modi and his Government will be remembered for this brilliant step.
Jyothi Suparna Chincholi