How Feasible Is ‘One Nation One Poll’?

The simultaneous polls will undeniably bring along with it few advantages - the main advantages being containment of poll expenditure and the shift in focus from winning polls to efficient legislation.

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The recent proposal by the Law Commission of India on conduction of simultaneous polls have brought the old debate back to the limelight. The proposal has however been opposed by nine parties not considering it to be pragmatic while four parties have endorsed the idea. The BJP is yet to respond on the same but Narendra Modi’s love for simultaneous polls is an open secret as he has reiterated in favor of the same on different platforms multiple times.

The simultaneous polls will undeniably bring along with it few advantages – the main advantages being containment of poll expenditure and the shift in focus from winning polls to efficient legislation.

Simultaneous polls will not only lessen the financial burden but also lead to judicious utilization of manpower as frequent polls need deployment of security forces throughout the year multiplying their workload.

However, the negatives cannot be overlooked as it concerns the federal structure of the country where ‘national issues’ would have edge over ‘regional issues’ in an era of digitalized dissemination of information.

Anything central will become the agenda of the General Elections as well as State Elections which may send some local issues into anonymity.

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The law ministry recently raised concerns on the law commission’s proposal saying that the total estimated expenditure for EVMS and VVPATs in case of simultaneous polls would be 10,000 crores, and given the fact that EVMs are replaced every 15 years owing to security reasons, an enormous amount of Rs 10,000 crores will be spent on the EVMs/VVPAT every 15 years.

Moreover, simultaneous polls mean more numbers of EVMs/VVPATs are available with the Election Commission at a time, and so the rental cost of the warehouses for storage of the machines will cost the exchequer more.

Earlier, the EVMs would be transported from one state to the other as elections to different state assemblies used to be held on different times leading to the frequent utilization of the same machines within a span of 15 years.

Different political parties have come up distinctly on the issue of ‘one nation one poll’. DMK, CPI and Trinamool Congress have opposed the proposal while Samajwadi Party, TRS, and Shiromani Akali Dal have endorsed the idea of  ‘one nation one poll’.

“I am writing to you in response to your letter of June 14, 2018, where you have sought the opinion of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on the issue of holding simultaneous elections. The basic objection to the concept is that it is fundamentally anti-democratic and strikes at the root of the parliamentary democratic system as ordained in the Constitution,” CPI –M leader Sitaram  Yechury wrote a letter to the Law Commission on July 4 against the commission’s proposal for the ‘one nation one poll’