By Vijay Darda | 19-08-2019
After one nation, one Constitution, one flag and one tax, a step towards one election now!
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled the dream of one nation, one Constitution and one nation, one flag. Jammu and Kashmir has neither separate Constitution nor flag now. Both will now be in the history books only. The Prime Minister has not only done this but also realised the dream of one nation, one tax through GST. Though the Congress had dreamed of bringing in GST, the Narendra Modi government fulfilled it.
In his 92-minute speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister dwelt on many things, made many promises, and spoke about new avenues and new goals. In the midst of all this, he also put forth a very important idea of ‘one nation, one election’. He said this idea is being widely discussed across the country today. It should be discussed in a democratic manner. To fulfill the dream of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’, we have to put together more such things in the system. I completely agree with the Prime Minister’s view.
I have dedicated my whole life to the service of the nation and been an integral part of politics. So, I got a better chance to understand the country and its electoral system. I have always wondered why this country is engaged in elections all the time? If you see, elections are being held sometimes in this state, sometimes in that state and sometimes in many states simultaneously! Thus, election process is eternally on at some place or the other in the country. All works stop when the model code of conduct is in force. Broadly speaking, elections are held twice in a state: First for the Lok Sabha followed by state Assembly. Also, elections to the district panchayats and local self government bodies are held too. It is obvious that a huge amount of money and time is also spent on this exercise. With this, there is also an impact on administrative work. Many a time, the officials of one state go to other states too. Thus, the work in both the states gets affected. If both elections are held at once, it will definitely save lots of resources. We will be able to save money which could be utilised for the development of the country and wipe away tears of the poor.
In our country, the irony is that the political parties at times unnecessarily oppose each other. Who to blame is beyond comprehension. In June last year, the Prime Minister convened an all-party meeting. Some parties attended and some did not! While some supported the idea, many parties stood in protest. It was only last year that the Law Commission too sought the opinion of different parties. The Samajwadi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and Telangana Rashtra Samithi supported the idea but the DMK, Trinamool Congress, CPI and Goa Forward Party opposed it.
The Congress adopted the middle path and said it would express its opinion only after a discussion with the other parties. However, those against it argue that the voters’ mood is different for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha and therefore, the elections should be held separately. If elections are held simultaneously, the voters will vote for the same party. I do not agree with such arguments. There are many instances in the country when elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly were held simultaneously in a state, but the results of both were different. No one should underestimate the wisdom of the Indian voter. Our voter is intelligent. Odisha is the biggest example. Many elections were held together there but the results were different.
Here, I think it necessary to tell you that the concept of one nation, one election is not new. After independence, elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously in the entire country in 1951-52. In 1957, 1962 and 1967 too, the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were held simultaneously. But after that due to political reasons, in 1968-69, the assemblies of many states were dissolved and the process of simultaneous elections got snapped. Then in 1999, the Law Commission recommended in its report that elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies should be held simultaneously.
In 2015, the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice also recommended simultaneous elections, but this was ignored. Now that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is pushing the idea, we should hope that there will be a consensus to hold simultaneous elections in the country. I hope the political parties will rise above their party interests and set an example before the world. However, for simultaneous elections, the government will have to pass a resolution in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha with a two-thirds majority, and this government can easily get it passed too.
Idea valuable, but action necessary!
Today, everybody is aware of the state of our economy. Every person is upset and every sector is in doldrums. In such a situation, the Prime Minister has said quite rightly that we should not look at the wealth creators with suspicion. We should honour those who create wealth. If wealth is not created, how will it be distributed? And if the wealth is not distributed, how will it help the poor? I completely agree with these views. Those who generate wealth play an important role in the development of the country, employing millions of people. Such people should be valued. But in reality, the attitude of our government agencies is such that they harass the wealth creators, as if they have committed a sin. I hope the Prime Minister will pay attention towards this aspect as well!
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again mooted the idea of ‘one nation, one election’ from the ramparts of the Red Fort and all the political parties should accept it. The nation is above politics. If the elections are held simultaneously across the country, it will save the resources considerably.