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इंडियन आवाज़     17 Apr 2024 01:38:57      انڈین آواز

Welfare Party of India strongly opposes One Nation One Election

(Last Updated On: 17/01/2024)

AMN / New Delhi

Welfare Party of India WPI as a part of its policy intervention and participatory democracy sent its recommendations to the High Level Committee on One Nation One Election, in which it has strongly opposed it.

National President Dr SQR Ilyas said replacing the present form of elections with one Nation One Election, “we cannot let the cure for a flawed democracy become worse than the malady and cited the following reasons behind opposing it.”

1.Herculean task:

“One Nation One Election “is a challenge, as implementation requires appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections to the Parliament, State legislative assemblies, municipalities and panchayats and requires amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act, 1950, the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the rules made there under and also needs ratification of 50% state assemblies.

2.Attack on Federal structure :

‘India is the union of states’is meticulously chosen, well-debated words of Article 1 of the Constitution and in essence, the foundational value of Indian federalism however “One Nation One Election”is a blow to federalism and an attack on the autonomy and independence of state governments. It will also have an impact on the power dynamics between the Centre and the state and will curtail the power of state assemblies.

3.No level Playing :

If “One Nation One Election” is implemented the regional parties and small parties will not be able to raise their local issues strongly as national issues will take the centre stage. They would also be unable to compete with national parties in terms of election expenditure and election strategy in the unequal competition.

4.Influencing the Voters:

As per a study conducted by the IDFC Institute shows that there is a 77 per cent chance that voters will choose the same winning political party or alliance in the state assembly and the LokSabha if elections are held simultaneously as per the “One Nation One Election”. However, if elections are held six months apart, only 61 per cent of the voters would choose the same party . We fear that this entire exercise is being conducted to replace parliamentary form of democracy into a presidential form which is highly unsuitable for our country.

5.No Accountability:

The biggest concern with “One Nation One Election “ is the erosion of the mechanism to hold governments responsible to the citizens on a regular basis. In the absence of democratic institutions such as referendums, initiatives and recalls, regular elections at the Union or State level ensure that political parties are held accountable by the people on a regular basis. Even a by-election may induce governments to correct its course in a direction desired by the voters.

With “One Nation One Election” not only will the accountability of the government be decreased but the polity significantly will also become more easily available to authoritarian forces with limited checks and balances.

6.Impractical approach:

The idea of “One Nation One Election “ assumes homogeneity in the nation which is diverse. This diversity is a reality that cannot be ignored, different regions have specific issues that need individual attention , the confronting diverse issues impacts politics in the states including election schedule.

Therefore ‘One size fits all’ approach goes against this diversity and can lead to a political backlash.

7. Feasibility Challenge:

Article 83(2) and 172 of the Constitution stipulates that the tenure of LokSabha and State Assemblies respectively will last for five years unless dissolved earlier and there can be circumstances, as in Article 356, wherein assemblies can be dissolved earlier. Therefore, “One Nation One Election”raises serious questions as to

what would happen if the Central or State government collapses mid-tenure? And

what would happen if elections need to be held again in  different States?

Including a legal framework to deal with situations such as no-confidence motions, premature dissolution of assemblies, hung parliaments etc that may arise.

8.Overshadowing the Regional interests:

The present form of recurrent elections can be seen as beneficial in a democracy as it allows voters to have their voices heard more frequently in relation to their local issues. As the underlying issues of national and State polls are different. Under “One Nation One Election “ the local issues may get over shadowed with the National issues.

9. Non vigilant Citizens:

In present setup of frequent elections help keep the voters alert and engage them in debates and discussions but“One Nation One Election” will make the participatory democracy weak. The citizens will become passive participants  as the elections are held once in 5 years.

10. Not Cost Effective:

Various estimates by the Election Commission, NITI Aayog show that the costs of conducting all State and parliamentary elections in a five-year cycle work out to the equivalent of Rs. 10 per voter per year. The NITI Aayog report has also said that when elections are synchronized, it will cost the equivalent of Rs. 5 per voter per year.

In the short term, simultaneous elections under “One Nation One Election”will increase the costs for deploying far larger numbers of EVMs and VVPATs. So, amending the constitution to save Rs 5 for every voter in a year may not be a good idea.

11.Logistical Challenges:

“One Nation One Election” will pose logistical challenges in terms of availability and security of electronic voting machines, personnel and other resources. EC may face difficulties in managing such a massive exercise in a vast country like India.

Press Release

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