Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 74

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Union Government and Administration)

(Current Based) Question: Discuss pros and cons of “One nation, One poll”.(20 Marks/300 Words)

Model Answer:

The notion of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, in the public domain for long, has in the past been advocated by the Election Commission, examined by the parliamentary standing committee and the Niti Aayog, and promoted by senior politicians.

Simultaneous polls is a bad idea not just because it is impractical and unworkable in the current constitutional framework, but more because it is anti-democratic and disrespectful of the spirit of federalism at its core.

Elections were simultaneously held to the Lok Sabha and to state assemblies when independent India first began holding them, but the cycles diverged after 1967 due to premature dissolution of some assemblies and because general elections were called early in 1970.

After the splintering of the Congress system, the rise of regional parties, the intensification of multi-party competition and onset of coalition politics, different states have evolved their own formats and electoral cycles that may or may not coincide with each other or with the Centre.

Imposing an artificial uniformity and fixity on the several election calendars in the name of reducing expenses, or greater convenience or better governance — arguments for which no persuasive case has been made yet — will have costs that must be seen to be fundamental and intolerable in a diverse, federal democracy.

Amendments will be required to the Constitution and to laws like the Representation of the People Act to fix the terms of legislatures and to ensure that a no-confidence motion should also propose an alternative governing arrangement.

“One nation, one poll” may sound like a promise of more neatness and order, but its underlying threat of forcible homogenisation must be recognised and resisted.

In a country where accountability structures are still only weakly institutionalised, elections offer vital opportunities for the people to confront their elected representatives, demand answers from them and a hearing. (Total Words- 312)

Valuable inputs from The Indian Express Editorials: ‘The power of many’

(Linkages: Simultaneous Polls and disrespect to federalism, Simultaneous Polls and Representation of the People Act, Artificial Uniformity and Impractical Idea )

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