November 23, 2016

Why We Need to Debate the ‘One Nation, One Election’ Idea Further

Praveen Chakravarty, Visiting Senior Fellow, warns of the potential ramifications of simultaneous elections on federalism and voter behaviour. Read the full article in Swarajya here. Excerpts below: 


"The typical arguments in favour of simultaneous elections are three-fold – it will be more cost efficient, it will reduce ‘policy paralysis’ and improve overall ‘productivity’. This is yet another case of using a hammer to kill a fly that is likely to end up with a broken surface and not a dead fly.


It is first important to examine the veracity of the claims of problems of the current system. Then analyse if the recommended solution will indeed solve these problems without other unintended consequences and produce net significant gains...


It is clear, as explained above, that the very premise for an argument for simultaneous elections is feeble. To then, propose a solution to these imaginary large problems that entails further costs of impingement on federalism and a potential impact on voter behaviour sounds rash and imprudent...


It is evident that the potential ramifications of simultaneous elections in terms of true federalism, impact on voter behaviour and denying a voter to cast her choice at least once more in a five-year period are not worth an annual estimated savings of Rs 1,000 crore every year or a backward-looking claim of policy paralysis.


Efficient governance is the much touted rationale for ideas such as GST, simultaneous elections, uniform curriculum, one language etc..."


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