April 23, 2018

One nation, one poll and many poles

Shankkar Aiyar, Visiting Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, weighs in on the debate on simultaneous elections in this New Indian Express article. Excerpts:


"The idea of simultaneous elections is captured in the slogan one nation, one poll. The concept of one nation, one poll is, however, confronted by the many poles of opinion.


Since 1967, India has witnessed five to six polls every year—and this is just states and Lok Sabha. These elections trigger a code of conduct which stalls governance for at least 45 days—Karnataka polls were announced on March 27 and the code will be in force till May 15. In 2018, elections are staggered in three episodes—February, May and November. Annually, governance goes into poll mode for roughly 100 days.  


The idea of simultaneous polls is not unique – though uniquely the urge surges during NDA regimes. It first appeared in the 170th Report of the Law Commission in 1999. The report mooted an end to the “cycle of elections every year” and simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies. The dormant idea was energized in 2003 by former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who said “governance had become a casualty due to frequent elections”. Elections for democracy, it would seem, had been turned into democracy of elections."


Read the full article here.



Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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