ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Simultaneous Elections vs Accountability

Are elections a mere instrument to elect the government or a meaningful democratic exercise?

 

“One Nation, One Election’’ has been an issue of great priority for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This intention of the BJP was clear in its move to take up the discussion of such a proposal on priority in the all-party meet that took place on 19 June 2019. The BJP seeks to define the idea of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. While there appears to be an acceptance of the idea among the National Democratic Alliance constituents along with a few regional parties, certain opposition parties have opposed it on the ground that it may adversely affect constitutional democracy and federalism. Many suspect that such a move may lead to the consolidation of authoritarian tendencies of the ruling party. Hence, it requires due deliberation and careful consideration.

Though the idea of holding simultaneous elections is not new, as it was mooted by the Election Commission in 1982 as well as the Law Commission in 1999, the recent impetus has come from a discussion paper by NITI Aayog members as well as a report by the Law Commission. Furthermore, this idea has been pushed forcefully by the Prime Minister in his speeches and monologues, thereby giving it political weightage. Primarily, the rationale for this idea rests on the arguments for efficiency and expenditure. The simultaneous conduct of elections is said to help reduce the overall expenditure on holding elections in a staggered and sequential manner, as has been the general precedent since 1969. Moreover, it would also remove the impediment in taking policy decisions due to the adherence to the model code of conduct at different points in time. Such arguments are essentially managerial/instrumental in nature and show scant regard for constitutional principles and democratic values.

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Updated On : 15th Jul, 2019

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