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Simultaneous Polls to LS, State Assemblies UPSC NOTE

 Simultaneous Polls to LS, State Assemblies

  • The concept of "One Nation, One Election" envisions a system in which all state and Lok Sabha elections must be held simultaneously.

  • This would imply that voters will vote for members of the LS and state assemblies on the same day and at the same time (or in a phased manner as the case may be).

History Simultaneous Elections in India

  • First General Elections to the House of People (Lok Sabha) and all State Legislative Assemblies were held simultaneously in 1951-52.

  • That practice continued in three subsequent General Elections held in the years 1957, 1962 and 1967. Barring a few stray cases like:

    • Kerala where a mid-term election was held in 1960 on the pre-mature dissolution of the Assembly, and

    • In Nagaland and Pondicherry where the Assembly was created only after the 1962 general elections.

  • Due to the premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969, the cycle got disrupted.

  • The last occasion when we had near-simultaneous elections was in 1967.

  • As a result of premature dissolutions and extension of terms of both the Lok Sabha and various State Legislative Assemblies, for the last forty-eight years, there have been separate elections to Lok Sabha and States Legislative Assemblies, and the cycle of simultaneous elections has been disturbed.

  • Currently only four State Assemblies have been going to polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the last two decades.

  • We now have at least two rounds of Assembly general elections every year.

Benefits of simultaneous elections

  • It would reduce the massive expenditure incurred for the conduct of separate elections every year.

  • Help ruling parties focus on governance instead of being constantly in election mode.

  • Simultaneous elections would free crucial manpower which is often deployed for prolonged periods on election duties.

  • The policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during election time would be reduced.

  • According to the Law Commission, simultaneous polls will boost voter turnout.

Challenges of simultaneous elections

Constitutional challenges:

  • It would require at least five constitutional amendments.

  • The five amendments in the Constitution would entail changes to 

  • Article 83 relating to the duration of Houses of Parliament.

  • Article 85 relating to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha by the President.

  • Article 172 relating to the duration of the State legislatures.

  • Article 174 relating to dissolution of the State legislatures.

  • Article 356 relating to the imposition of President’s Rule in States.

  • Since it will affect federal character, at least 50% of the states will require to ratify the constitutional amendments.

Affects judgement of voters:

  • National and state issues are different and holding simultaneous elections is likely to affect the judgement of voters.

Reduced accountability of government:

  • Since elections will be held once in five years, it will reduce the government's accountability to the people.

The deployment of security forces and officials:

  • The deployment of security forces and officials in 700,000 polling stations located in widely varying geographic and climatic conditions, all at the same time is going to be extremely difficult. 

  • It is precisely these problems that begun to cause elections to be held in multiple phases and on different dates even in the same state.

Logistical issue:

  • It would require a large number of additional electronic voting machines and paper-trail machines.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Simultaneous Polls to LS, State Assemblies UPSC NOTE
Simultaneous Polls to LS, State Assemblies UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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