Simultaneous Elections – Reform of the Decade

simultaneopus elections
EVM

Election is vital process to single-out and elect a person, representing a party or is an independent candidate, who forms a part of the ruling class or is in the opposition, as the choice drives outcome. For a layman election means to choose a representative for his constituency. Elections in India are non-less than festivals, sometimes at par or even exceeding the inclusion of the aforesaid terminology. India with a population over 1.2 billion and counting needs a comprehensive system to cater the needs of election process. Solely for this purpose the country has its Election commission headquartered at New Delhi. Handling 66.3% of 814.5 million votes is a cumbersome and hectic process. The elections are separately held for State Assemblies and The Parliament. Crores are spent on campaigning by the candidates and subsequently by the parties who field them.The stages turn into promise podiums and manifestos are embedded into the spicy inciting speeches. The turmoil is covered by electronic media with great fervor. This happens twice at large scale, once while the state elections, and other while the national elections. Therefore in order to save money and time, the Govt. has decided to hold simultaneous elections. The official website has flipped various question to the general public precisely 5 in number to draw the public opinion, before reaching at any political consensus. But before analyzing the questions, just to update the readers, this would be the next big or drastic (as the complexity of the situation suggests) electoral reform after the introduction of EVMs in 2004. Here are the questions answered one after the other.

Q1. Is it desirable to hold simultaneous elections? What are the pros and cons?

Simultaneous Elections system in would have to face a lot of difficulties in India.
Certain regional parties have supported this while others have opposed dreading
the possibility that it could delude a class of voters as to whom they are voting,
precisely the Central Govt. representative or the State Govt. representative.
Certain others have pushed in the “wave” theory, “Opposition mukt(free) (read it Modi wave in 2014 elections) Bharat” regime as the aim of mulling this reform. The election has already witnessed various other anomalous, influential factors such as regionalism, family
loyalty etc, so the “wave” phenomenon hardly holds any significance. 2014 election results are testimony to the fact that the voter is smart enough to make a choice.

Pros

1. Decline in financial and human resources expenditure.
2.Effective Governance
2(i). Policy paralysis due to MCCs absolved.
2(ii). Curtailed expenditure on election campaigns, and lengthening the political
interaction on aegis of Governance rather than promise making during the
campaigns. This would also curb the menace of money influence in elections.
Lesser no. of campaigns would benefit the voters, laying emphasis on relevant
issues by parties.
2(iii). Focus will be shifted on utilizing effectively the time frame of Parliament on
policy making rather than wasting time on state election campaigns by the MPs in
their respective constituencies.
2(iv). Regional and National players may be sometimes be witnessed as one
party as according to “wave” theory, thus streamlining the governance system of
state with the National system. Political consensus at both the level would
ultimately lead to effective governance. But chances are rare.

Cons

1. The political analysts have expressed their concerns and given words of
cautions on this policy simultaneous elections as it could monopolize the
elections due to “wave” theory.
2. Consequently excessive political consensus between the state and the central
Govt. would curtail at-least one factor i.e. opposition by the state, which could
have led to the perfection of the policy framed. Thus reducing or downgrading the
criticism, the policy and ultimately the governance.

Q2. If simultaneous elections are held then for the first time what happens to assemblies whose scheduled tenure either ends before or after the proposed date of holding elections?

The predicament in the dilemma of the tenures of the state assemblies and to
proportionate and settle their time frames to make them work with the
simultaneous election plan is going to be he prime dispute, a difficult code to
crack. The reigning Govt. cannot be thrown out of power immediately neither the
subsequent elections be postponed as it would result in total breakdown of
machinery propelling the idea of simultaneous elections. So, what is the solution?
As per, the suggestion of standing committee report” The committee suggested
that the proposed Ist phase of assembly elections could be held in Nov 2016.
Elections to all state assemblies whose term ends within 6 moths or 1 year before
or after the appointed election date can be clubbed together. Similarly, the
second phase of election can be held in 2019, with the General Elections to Lok
Sabha.
A couple of disputes or anomalies can be spotted in this scheme, as what if I
vote for say party ‘x’ now, in Ist phase say in region of water scarcity. The party
would definitely carry the issue aforesaid in its manifesto. after 3 yrs in the second
phase in some other region the issues would be totally different, paralyzing the
party’s manifesto, overburdening it and pushing it into the dilemma as to what it
should do? 3 yrs is an adequate amount of time to erase something from the
memory deliberately or unwittingly. Time gap needs to be addressed and a mechanism devised which would hold the Govt. responsible throughout the term.
One such mechanism proposed is that of “Coalition”.

“Coalition” theory

For example the tenure of J&K state assembly ends in 2020 and the general
elections are to be held in 2019, then according to simultaneous elections
system, the election would be held in 2019, imposing MCC during the required
time frame of election dissolving the state assemblies(by some mechanism).
Suppose the incumbent party is ‘x’ and after the election, party ‘y’ got elected,
then the according to the coalition formula, the duo has to form a coalition till the
tenure of the incumbent party is over. This can be further normalized by the
proportion formula i.e. Coalition Govt. for the first half would be headed by the
incumbent and the other half by the newly elected. After the time lag elapses the
coalition would dissolve, thus the new Govt. would take over the full charge.
For second consequence, if the incumbent is elected again, would serve till the
tenure is over, thus normalizing the cycle.

Q3. Should the terms of Lok Sabha and state assemblies be fixed?

Question no. 3 is very simple and plain to answer inflicting no complexity. Either
Yes or No. But the question is not as simple as it appears. tenures of Lok Sabha
and assemblies if fixed would not have much effect on governance, the prime
concern. As it is already almost uniform throughout the country except the
activity is not synchronous. But certain other states such as J&K would challenge
the plan which is always reluctant to modify its constitution and implement the
Central recommendations. Otherwise, there is no other challenge as according to
my awareness and knowledge.

Q4. What would happen if by-elections are necessary b/w terms?

The by-election curriculum could be kept intact. The existing norms and the
mechanism does ot interfere with the new simultaneous election plan. By-
elections are held to fill-in the left-over vacancies, either due to eviction or some
other reason.

Q5. What happens in case the ruling party loses majority in b/w term, either in Lok Sabha or in state assemblies?

The last question put forth is quite interesting. After a party loses majority the
state assembly is dissolved and the head of the state (read Governor in case of
state) asks the incumbent to either prove majority or vacate the house dissolving
the assembly. In such case who is to be held responsible for such a blunder? The
MLAs due to their personal interests or internal disputes of the party cannot ditch
the voters and the democracy as whole. The people elected them as their
representative and the “Members” cannot use the votes for their own interests. ”
I was not appointed the Cabinet Minister so I will quit the party and the
Assembly”. The people got you elected to act for them and not for your personal
interest or party. The MLA should be accountable and answerable to the voters
and not the party alone. The penalty for such an act should be imposed if
anybody quits the assembly as such taking the people’s verdict for granted.
The representative should clear his or her position before the election thus
refraining from deluding the voter and himself afterwards. The tenure of the
Govt. should not be changed in any circumstance, and by-elections should be
viewed as a penalty, in case it occurs due to voluntary eviction. The political class
should learn to bear the responsibility of people’s verdict. And if the term is not
complete and by-elections are held the tenure of the newly formed Govt. should
end at the fixed juncture and should not be extended beyond the fixed limits. For
example if the assembly is dissolved after 2 yrs of formation and tenure is 5 yrs
fixed, then the next Govt. would serve for only 3 yrs and not 5 yrs. So that the idea
of simultaneous elections is held up supplementing the accountability of the
political class toward the public. This sort of penalty cannot be opposed by the
ruling class as it is the verdict of the people behind the change. All this does not
happen very often but in the rare of the rare cases. The involuntary evictions are
inevitable and cannot be avoided. But the voluntary evictions must be scrutinized
and dealt with firmly if found false.

Lastly the workforce required for such a large scale activity or properly described
as war-scale activity would be enormous. The days would be tiring, cumbersome,
and long-lasting. But the workforce of India be it military, political, bureaucratic,
is trained well for such conditions. Moreover setting up the Lok Sabha booth and
the state assembly booth at the same election center would drastically reduce the
burden on security personnels, coping with the shortage(if occurs). Block A for
example would be designated as Lok Sabha booth and Block B as the state
assembly booth within the same center.
Suggestions are not bindings rather set of options to choose not obligatory but
flexible.
I would like to stand corrected, in case I committed an error.

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