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Simultaneous Elections to Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas



  Jul 28, 2023

Simultaneous Elections to Lok Sabha (House of The People) and Vidhan Sabhas (State Legislative Assemblies) For and Against


In India, simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha (House of The People) and Vidhan Sabhas (State Legislative Assemblies) were held in the years 1951-52, 1957, 1962 and 1967. Thereafter, however, the schedule could not be maintained  as there were midterm elections at both the levels and the election cycles differed.

The justification for holding simultaneous elections is as follows:
  • Cost Reduction: Conducting separate elections every year incurs massive expenditure. Simultaneous elections would save costs as the elections for Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies would be combined, reducing the financial burden.
  • Avoiding Model Code of Conduct (MCC): Frequent elections lead to the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct, halting development programs and activities. Holding simultaneous elections would limit the duration of MCC, allowing normal governance to continue.
  • Minimizing Disruption: Frequent elections disrupt public life and essential services. Simultaneous elections would reduce this disruption, as it would be confined to a specific predetermined period.
  • Efficient Use of Manpower: Simultaneous elections would free up crucial manpower that is often deployed for extended periods on election duties, enabling them to be utilized more effectively elsewhere.

Simultaneous elections are difficult and undesirable because 
1. The issues are different from state elections and Lok Sabha elections. Clubbing both will blur the priorities.

2. All elected bodies may not last full term and there is need for out of turn elections and so alignment of schedule is difficult.General elections may throw up hung parliament and assemblies which will make it impossible to hold simultaneous elections.

3. Some are suggesting that constructive no confidence motion be introduced to ensure political stability and full term: that is, unless an alternative is available, the incumbent government will continue even if it loses a no confidence motion.

4. In a federal democracy, unless all states representing political parties agree, it can not be taken up.

5. Most importantly, there are five constitutional provisions that need amendment.To implement simultaneous polls, amendments are proposed in the following Articles of the Constitution:
Article 83: This article deals with the duration of the Lok Sabha, specifying that the House's maximum term is five years from the date of its first meeting.
 
Article 85: This article deals with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha by the President. The President has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha before the completion of its term, leading to fresh elections.
 
Article 172: This article deals with the duration of the State Legislative Assemblies, specifying that the Assembly's maximum term is five years from the date of its first meeting.
 
Article 174: This article deals with the dissolution of the State Legislative Assemblies. The Governor has the power to dissolve the Assembly before the completion of its term, leading to fresh elections.
 
Article 356: This article deals with the imposition of President's Rule in states. The President has the authority to dismiss a state government and assume direct control through the Governor if the state fails to comply with the Constitution.

These amendments are necessary for simultaneous polls because:To conduct simultaneous polls, the terms of both the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies need to be synchronized. Currently, different states may have different election schedules based on when their Assemblies were last constituted. These proposed amendments aim to ensure that the Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies go to polls together after their respective five-year terms expire.
 
6. Finally, when elections are held every year in some states or the other, there is continuous accountability in the form of welfare and development. 


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