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One Nation, One Election The Law And The Politics

The debate has been going on around the country regarding ‘One nation, One election’. What the concept actually means is that elections to the Lok Sabha and all the state legislatures shall be held at the same time. One of the main proponents of this concept is the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi himself and the idea is supported by the current President Shri Ram Nath Kovind as well as the former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
One might think that the idea is new but in fact India has followed ‘one nation one election’ in the past and elections in the year 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 were based on this concept only.

Most people opposing the idea say that the concept is unconstitutional and anything which is contrary to the constitution cannot be followed in India since in India it is the Constitution which is Supreme. In reality the constitution does not clearly say whether we can or we cannot have the policy of ‘one nation, one election’. However, having Lok Sabha and state assembly elections at the same time in 2019 might violate some of the provisions of the constitution. Article 83(2) deals with the tenure of Lok Sabha and says that it shall be for 5 years unless dissolved earlier. Similarly, Article 172 says that tenure of State Assemblies shall be 5 years unless dissolved earlier. However, the state assemblies can be solved for specific reasons only in accordance with Article 356 of the constitution and dissolving the assembly for simultaneous elections would be a violation of the constitution.

Also, since India is a federal country with a strong central government, some leaders say that ‘one nation, one election’ is a violation of the federal structure.

Actually, the problem is an amalgamation of legal and political aspects. The holding of elections would require an amendment in the constitution and for this support from both the houses is needed. Without the amendment it would not be possible to dissolve state governments in all states and hold simultaneous elections.

The BJP is in favor of this idea of ‘one nation, one election’ because it believes that it will help BJP to have a strong government throughout the country. Most of the opinion polls have shown that people support PM Modi but are not happy with their respective Chief Ministers which might lead to a loss to BJP in the coming state assembly elections in various states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. However, if we have ‘one nation, one election’ the chances of BJP coming into power become high.

In case of other parties like Congress, they still do not have a strong face as the central leader and ‘one nation, one election’ might lead to it losing even in the states where it is in power.

However, the prudency of the policy of ‘one nation, one election’ comes from the fact that it would be a great advantage to the government treasury if simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held because a lot of money and man power is used in conducting elections and simultaneous elections would save a lot of money and man power. Also, it is expected that the number and percentage of voters actually coming out of their houses to vote would increase if simultaneous elections are held. These advantages would benefit the country as a whole.

Thus, it is expected that parties would weigh nation’s good over their own good and support the policy of ‘one nation, one election’ in favor of common good of the whole country.

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