The need of the hour is to conduct all elections in India in synchronised manner to ensure minimum “campaign mode” disruption to governance. Discuss the merits and demerits of holding simultaneous elections to centre and states in India. 

The need of the hour is to conduct all elections in India in synchronised manner to ensure minimum “campaign mode” disruption to governance. Discuss the merits and demerits of holding simultaneous elections to centre and states in India. 
Approach:
  • Introduce with elections in India and why the idea is being talked about
  • Make arguments in favour
  • Make arguments against it
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
With 29 states and the union going for elections at least once every 5 years, India seems perpetually in an election mode that takes up significant government resources while also hindering development work. As a result, the idea of conducting simultaneous Lok Sabha And Assembly Elections in India is gaining momentum, with even the Niti Aayog endorsing the idea.
Arguments in favour of conducting simultaneous election:
  • Curtailment in expenditure: Simultaneous elections can drastically reduce the financial burden on the government.
  • Policy paralysis: With the announcement of election dates, Model Code Of Conduct (MCC) gets enforced. As a result, the Governments cannot take major policy decisions.
  • Affects developmental activities:
    • Conducting an election in India is a complex job and the entire government machinery gets involved. It affects the other developmental activities of the government.
    • Many government officials are even sent to other states on deputation during an election. It affects the activities of government even in those states which are not undergoing an election.
  • Affects internal security: Security forces have to be diverted for the electoral work.
  • Historical precedent: For nearly two decades after independence, polls to the Lok Sabha and most of the state assemblies were held simultaneously.
Arguments against the idea of simultaneous election:
  • There is no empirical evidence to show that frequent elections have in any way affected the quality of governance or decision making.
  • Conducting simultaneous elections is a mammoth task. It will require large number of security personnel along with government officials to conduct the election.
  • Frequent elections have kept the government on its toes. It is general tendency that once elected, representatives slowly move away from the people. If there are no more elections for five years, the people will surely be forgotten for that duration.
  • Regional issues might get merged with the national issues if simultaneous elections are conducted. It might affect the regional parties in negative ways.
  • It also has the potential to affect the national parties as a national party will have to be spread too thin if it is focusing on both national and state elections at the same time.
Conclusion:
A deliberation on the issue is welcome. But it should be done with an open mind, keeping in mind feasibility as well as desirability.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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