Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long advocated for the idea of conducting simultaneous elections for both the Lok Sabha (Parliamentary) and state assembly polls.
He argues that this approach would help reduce the financial burden caused by almost continuous election cycles and minimize disruptions to development work during the polling period. The decision to appoint former President Ram Nath Kovind to head the committee to investigate the feasibility of “One Nation, One Poll” underscores the government’s commitment to this concept, especially as a series of elections, including assembly polls in five states, approach on the horizon. The government aims to streamline the electoral process and bring about greater synchronization between Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.
The Indian government has established a committee, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, to investigate the possibility of implementing the “One Nation, One Election” concept in the country. This concept seeks to synchronize the schedules of Lok Sabha (parliamentary) and state assembly elections to hold them simultaneously, reducing the frequency of elections. The move has received mixed reactions, with proponents arguing it could enhance governance and efficiency, while opponents express concerns about its impact on federalism and the potential for overshadowing regional issues. The committee will examine various aspects of the proposal and submit a report to the government.
The Indian government has formed a committee to explore the feasibility of implementing the “One Nation, One Election” concept, which aims to synchronize the schedules of parliamentary and state assembly elections. This committee will be led by former President Ram Nath Kovind and will engage with state stakeholders to gather input and opinions. The proposal may involve constitutional amendments, and the committee plans to seek legal and political perspectives during its deliberations. While the formation of the committee marks a significant step, it does not guarantee the introduction of related legislation in the current parliamentary session.
The government’s move to explore the “One Nation, One Election” concept has faced criticism from the opposition, with some considering it impractical and an attempt to marginalize opposition parties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a vocal advocate of synchronized elections, and the appointment of former President Ram Nath Kovind to lead the committee underscores the government’s commitment to this idea, especially with upcoming elections on the horizon. The committee is expected to include members such as the cabinet secretary, former Chief Justice of India (ex-CJI), former Chief Election Commissioner (ex-ECI), retired judges, constitutional experts, and political leaders. The possibility of advancing both general elections and some state polls has emerged as a result of these developments.
Currently, elections in India are conducted separately for each state and for the Lok Sabha (Parliamentary) elections. State elections and Lok Sabha elections have their own electoral cycles, with each state holding elections every five years. If the “one nation, one election” proposal becomes law, it would mean synchronizing all state elections with the Lok Sabha polls, potentially holding them on the same day.
However, implementing this proposal would require a Constitutional amendment. To pass such an amendment, it would need approval from a significant majority of members in both the Lok Sabha (67%), and the Rajya Sabha (67%), and also from half of the state legislatures (50%). This process is essential to change the current electoral system and make simultaneous elections a reality.
PM’s Idea of One Nation, One Poll
The concept of “One Nation, One Poll” refers to the idea of conducting simultaneous elections for both the Lok Sabha (Parliamentary) and state legislative assemblies across India. The proponents of this idea argue that it would streamline the electoral process, reduce the frequency of elections, save resources, and allow for better governance as political leaders and governments wouldn’t be in perpetual election mode.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a strong advocate of the “One Nation, One Poll” concept. He believes that frequent elections disrupt the development and policy implementation processes. Conducting simultaneous elections at both the national and state levels would, in his view, provide political stability and allow elected representatives to focus on governance and development.
However, critics of the idea argue that it could undermine the federal structure of India’s democracy and may not be feasible due to the diverse electoral cycles of different states. They also raise concerns about the logistical challenges of organizing such large-scale elections simultaneously.
The formation of a committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, to examine the feasibility of implementing “One Nation, One Poll” reflects the government’s commitment to exploring this concept. Still, it remains a topic of debate and discussion among political parties, experts, and stakeholders in India’s democratic process.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Ram Nath Kovind have been proponents of the idea of simultaneous elections in India since 2014. They argue that holding elections for different levels of government separately, including national, state, and local bodies, imposes a significant financial burden and disrupts the governance and development processes.
Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly stressed the need for simultaneous elections, emphasizing that they would save resources and allow elected representatives to focus on governance rather than campaign activities. He has also highlighted the challenges posed by the frequent imposition of the model code of conduct during elections, which can hinder developmental work.
Former President Kovind shared a similar perspective and expressed his support for the idea during his tenure. He called for a sustained debate on the issue and hoped that political parties would eventually reach a consensus.
As the Modi government approaches the end of its second term, there is a sense of urgency among its leadership to address this issue decisively. The formation of a committee headed by Ram Nath Kovind to examine the feasibility of “One Nation, One Poll” reflects the government’s commitment to exploring this concept and moving forward with the debate that has been ongoing for years.
The decision to hold a Special Session of Parliament and discuss the concept of “One Nation, One Poll” is seen as a strategic move by the ruling BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party believes that this issue will resonate with the public and provide them with a strong narrative for the upcoming assembly elections in five states: Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Rajasthan, scheduled for November-December. These state elections are set to be followed by the Lok Sabha elections in May-June next year.
Furthermore, recent developments have raised the possibility of advancing both the general elections and some state polls, which are currently scheduled after and with the Lok Sabha contest. This decision aligns with the BJP’s political strategy and allows them to maintain momentum.
It’s worth noting that some assemblies, such as those in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, are also slated to go to the polls along with the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has cultivated good relations with leaders like Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, even though they are not formally part of the BJP alliance. Additionally, the BJP is in power in Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim is governed by a BJP ally. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand, where the BJP is in power with allies, are also scheduled to have elections after the Lok Sabha polls.
The Indian government has decided to convene a Special Session of Parliament from September 18 to 22, comprising five sittings.
This announcement was made by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi. The unexpected Special Session has surprised political circles, particularly because parties are gearing up for upcoming assembly elections in five states later this year. Typically, the winter session of Parliament commences in the last week of November.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which began on July 20, was adjourned sine die on August 11, with 17 sittings over a period of 23 days. The decision to hold a Special Session signifies the government’s intention to address key issues and potentially discuss the concept of “One Nation, One Poll” among other important matters.