One Nation, One Election will save the Money of the Exchequer

The country had successfully seen the Parliamentary and assembly elections simultaneously till 1967. The problem arose only after then when some of the elections threw hung assemblies. The poll of the Parliament was held in 1971, a year before its full term was to expire because the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi dissolved the parliament to seek fresh mandate on the issue of Garibi Hatao (Remove Poverty). Thereafter, although Parliamentary elections used to be held on time after five years except in 1980, 1991 and 1998. Assemblies have also been dissolved before completing their terms resulting into their elections either ahead of or after the parliamentary elections.
The biggest disadvantage of holding elections almost round the year in some or other part the country is that heavy financial burden on the exchequer. The concept of ‘one nation, one election’ is to synchronise elections for the Lok Sabha and all state assemblies. The idea is to hold these elections simultaneously, either on a single day or within a specific time frame. Over the years, Prime Minister Modi has pushed strongly for the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, and the decision to task former {resident of India Ram Nath Kovind Kovind to look into it underscores the government’s seriousness as a host of elections approach. The assembly polls in five states were held in November and December last year i.e. 2023. It will be followed by the Lok Sabha elections which are likely to be held in May-June 2024.
‘One Nation One Election’ will reduce the cost.
The main benefits of ‘One Nation, one election’ is the reduction in the cost of conducting elections as each separate elections require huge amount of financial resources. With having simultaneous elections would ease the burden on administrative and security forces, who otherwise are engaged multiple times in election duties. With implementation of ‘One Nation, One Election’, the government can focus more on governance rather than being in an election mode, which often hampers policy implementation. Simultaneous elections will increase voter turnout because it will be easier for people to cast many votes at one time. The main difficulty in implementing the ‘One Nation, One Election’, would need the Constitution to be suitably changed and approved by the assemblies.
Therefore, it is the considered view that simultaneous elections will keep alive the enthusiasm of the voters but will also result in huge savings to
the public exchequer as well as avoiding repetition of administrative effort. It is also bound to control the expenses of political parties. Simultaneous elections will also avoid repeated enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct which affects administrative actions by the government.
In South Africa, elections to national as well as provincial legislatures are held simultaneously for five years, and municipal election are held two years later. In the U.K., the term of the Parliament is governed by the Fixed term. Frequent elections lead to disruption of normal public life and impact the functioning of essential services. If simultaneous elections are held, this period of disruption would be limited to a certain pre-determined period.
If simultaneous elections are held, then for the first time what happens to Assemblies whose scheduled tenure either ends before or after the proposed date of holding elections? In such cases terms of some assemblies may be advanced and for some assemblies it can be postponed by imposing president rule for the time being. If, following a general election, none of the parties is able to form a government and another general election becomes necessary, the term of the House in such case after the fresh election should be only for the remainder of what would have been the original term. Similarly, if the government has to resign for some reason and an alternative is not possible, then provision can be considered for a fresh election if the remainder of the term is comparatively longer period (to be specified) and in other cases, rule by the Governor or President’s Rule could be considered. Two windows of one-and-a-half months each may be fixed for holding all bye elections that become due in a particular year. If it is considered that the above proposals for having uniform and synchronised term for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies are not feasible, an alternative proposal would be to consider provisions to have all elections, falling due in a year together in a particular period of the year. In this arrangement, the advantage would be that the general elections to various Legislative Assemblies falling due in a year will be held together and not at different periods in the year. In the year in which the Lok Sabha election is due, all the Assembly elections of that year may also be held.