DNA Explainer: What is 'One Nation, One Election' and why Centre wants to implement it?

Many oppose the concept, saying regional parties of states will be rejected by simultaneous elections.

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One Nation, One Election again grabbed the headlines on Thursday when former president Ram Nath Kovind-led panel submitted its report on simultaneous elections to President Droupadi Murmu. The panel recommended simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days. The panel was set up in September last year. 

Why the Centre wants 'One Nation, One Election'?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has several times advocated the implementation of ‘One Nation, One Election’ to save time and money spent during the elections. Simultaneous polls have been an election promise of BJP. The ruling BJP has argued that holding Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections separately wastes money. 

Although the concept of simultaneous elections is not new. After independence till 1967, elections were held simultaneously for state assemblies and Lok Sabha in India. The first elections were held in 1952. Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were held simultaneously in 1957, 1962 and 1967. But this trend broke when the Legislative Assemblies of some states were dissolved prematurely in 1968. After this, the Lok Sabha elections were also held ahead of time in 1971.

Benefits of One Nation, One Election

  • Simultaneous elections reduce expenditure on elections every year.
  • It will save time and energy of government officials and security forces.
  • Voters may come out in large numbers to vote. This will strengthen democracy.

However, many oppose the concept, saying regional parties of states will be rejected by simultaneous elections as they contest elections on local issues. When Assembly elections are held along with Lok Sabha, big national parties will benefit. With simultaneous elections, national issues will dominate local issues. There is a possibility that voters will vote in the Assembly polls on national issues instead of local issues if Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are held simultaneously.

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