The one nation one election (ONOE) is a proposal to had simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies. The idea is to save money, improve administrative efficiency and ensure policy continuity.
However, there are numbers of limitations to this proposal.
One of the biggest limitations is the need for constitutional amendments. The current constitution of India does not allow for simultaneous elections. To make it happen two third of majority in both houses of the parliament is needed, followed by the endorsement from at least half of the state legislatures.
Another limitation is the issue of regional representation. The regional parties argue that simultaneous elections would give and unfair advantage to national parties which have more resources and wider reach.
There is also the question of the timing. It is not clear when simultaneous elections could be held. The term of different state legislatures varies, so it would be necessary to either shorten or extend some of them.
Against federal structure. The federal structure of India is based on the principle of separation of power between centre and state government. The ONOE proposal would undermine this principle by giving central government more control over the state government and would give an unfair advantage to national parties over regional parties.
Despite the challenges the ONOE is ideal worth considering in following ways.
- Cost saving: it would save money on election related expenses such as cost of printing ballot papers, hiring polling staff and providing security.
- Ensure policy continuity: simultaneous elections would ensure that there is no break in policy implementation between the end of one government’s term and beginning of next. This would be beneficial for the economy.
- Improved administrative efficiency: it will reduce administrative burden on the election commission of India, this will allow them to focus on other important task such as voter registrations.
- Increased voter turnout: simultaneous elections would make it easier for voters to cast their ballots as they would not have to go the polling stations multiple time.
The way forward for one nation one election is to carefully consider all the potential implications and to build consensus among political parties and public.