Question: ‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss.
Answer: Simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Vidhansabha has been a widely discussed topic with lots of for and against opinion. While the supporters argue about cost and time efficiency, detractors cite the reduced responsibility as an opposing reason.
Advantages of simultaneous election
- Cost saving
By conducting elections simultaneously the money spent on resources can be reduced significantly due to a single infrastructure for holding elections. In addition the man power acquired by the commission can be used more efficiently.
- Reduction in populism
Populism is usually followed when short term gains are targeted especially during upcoming elections. If elections are held in fixed time, government can be assured of stability for introducing long term measures that does not impact it on short term.
- Reduces voter exhaustion
It is observed that voters get exhausted due to continuous election during a short period of time. This will be countered if elections are held during a fixed time. The advantage is that there will be better turnout in voting numbers.
Drawbacks of simultaneous election
- By-election and dissolved assemblies
There is no provision to handle by-election on account of vacancy in seat. In addition, the states that will undergo midterm polls or those with dissolved assemblies will have no option but to wait till the next batch of elections are held. This will impact governance.
- Reduces accountability
If political parties are no longer worrying of elections there is a high chance that they will hibernate until the next elections arrive. People will thus judge them on their short term work only, which they may reap benefits.
- Intermixing of political narrative
There are high chances that the distinction between local and national issues will be reduced if two different elections are held at the same time. This will be advantageous to the political party which has a populist narrative in any one of the level.
Proper study and deliberation needs to be undertaken before making such a radical change in electoral system.
Thus, there are both benefits as well as drawbacks in simultaneous election process which have to be balanced equally before going ahead and implementing.