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15th February 2024 (8 Topics)

T.N. passes resolution against ‘One Nation, One Election’ plan

Context

The Tamil Nadu State Assembly unanimously passed resolution, urging the Union Government to not implement the idea of ‘one nation, one election’.

What are simultaneous polls?

  • Currently, elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha are held separately — that is whenever the incumbent government’s five-year term ends or whenever it is dissolved due to various reasons.
  • This applies to both the state legislatures and the Lok Sabha.
  • The terms of Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha may not synchronise with one another.
    • For instance, Rajasthan faced elections in late 2018, whereas Tamil Nadu will go to elections only in 2021.
  • But the idea of “One Nation, One Election” envisages a system where elections to all states and the Lok Sabha will have to be held simultaneously.
  • This will involve the restructuring of the Indian election cycle in a manner that elections to the states and the centre synchronise.
  • This would mean that the voters will cast their vote for electing members of the LS and the state assemblies on a single day, at the same time (or in a phased manner as the case may be).

Constitutional and Statutory Provisions Relevant to the Issue:

  • Article 83(2) of the Constitution provides for a normal term of five years for the House of People (LokSabha).
  • Article 172 (1) provides for a similar tenure for the State Legislative Assembly from the date of its first sitting. Tenure of the House cannot be extended beyond five years except in emergency situations.

Views on Simultaneous elections:

  • By 21stLaw Commission: In its report on 'simultaneous polls'submitted on August 30, 2018, the 21st Law Commission had recommended synchronizing all theAssembly elections with the LokSabha polls.
    • It had suggested extending or curtailing the tenures of the Assemblies, as required, by a constitutional amendment to facilitate holding these Assembly polls with the LokSabha elections in May 2019.
    • It had also said the elections for the states other than those mentioned above could be bunched together and organisedtwo and a half yearsafter the LokSabha polls.
    • If simultaneous elections could not be conducted, the commission recommended that all elections falling due in a calendar year be held together.
    • The commission had recommended replacing the 'no-confidence motion'with a 'constructive vote of no-confidence', where the government might only be removed if there was confidence in an alternative government.

Benefits:

Challenges and Concerns:

  • Cost Reduction: Conducting all elections concurrently would save significant resources spent on separate state and national elections.
  • Single Election Season: Simultaneous polls would streamline the electoral calendar, eliminating frequent disruptions due to elections in different states.
  • Policy Continuity: Advocates argue that the Model Code of Conduct often hampers government initiatives and project announcements, which could be avoided with synchronized elections.
  • Complexity: Coordinating elections at various levels of government—national, state, and local—poses logistical and administrative challenges.
  • Dominance of National Parties: Critics suggest that simultaneous polls could favor nationally dominant parties over regional ones, potentially undermining federalism.
  • Government Instability: If any government, whether at the state or national level, were to collapse before its term, it could lead to complicated scenarios and potential governance issues.
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