Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Outlook.com

Simultaneous Polls Is Not The Electoral Reform We Need Most

Separate elections give space to regional parties to find their political voice. It seems inappropriate to subjugate the people’s mandate at the local level to the whims of the politics beyond, writes former CEC Dr. S.Y. Quraishi

Simultaneous Polls Is Not The Electoral Reform We Need Most
Simultaneous Polls Is Not The Electoral Reform We Need Most Simultaneous Polls Is Not The Electoral Reform We Need Most

Even before the new Lok Sabha started functioning, the PM called an all-party meeting on June 19 to discuss, among other things, the idea of “one nation, one election”. This hurry is baffling. While a number of parties abstained, a div­ersity of opinion was expressed by those who ­attended. The CPI(M) argued that holding simultaneous elections to three tiers together “would require tampering with the Constitutional scheme of acc­ountability of the government to the legislature”. The BJD expressed strong support, while the AIADMK and YSR Congress expressed qualified support. It is clear that there is no consensus.

The issue was dwelt upon by the Law Commission in 1999, and the parliamentary standing committee in 2015 and the Election Commission of India supported it in principle. The idea, prima facie, is appealing for various reasons. First, the cost of elections. In 2019, it was a whopping Rs 60,000 crore, double of the 2014 elections. The seizure of drugs, cash, liquor and other freebies distributed to lure voters worth Rs 3,400 crore has doubled since the previous general election. Second, it is argued that there are frequent disruptions of normal development activities bec­ause of the model code. There is another big downside that the PM has not mentioned—casteism, communalism, corruption and crony capitalism are on full display in every election.

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