Push  For ‘One Nation, One  Poll’

THE ‘one nation, one  election’ debate refuses to fade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept the discussion alive when he advocated for one poll  during the all-India presiding officers conference.  Though India is a federal and pluralistic country,  a time has come to experiment on the possibility of holding concurrent polls through a common voter list.  The voter list should be same for all the three elections. The key is taking on board all political parties. Apart from several amendments to the Constitution and the Representation of People Act, 195, the Election Commission  will have to brace itself logistically and practically for the mammoth exercise. Serious logistic and practical problems exist because quite often  elections are held simultaneously  in many states separately in a year much to the consternation of the authorities. The apparently tough, unpleasant and unpopular changes like extending the terms of some state assemblies, and curtailing a few, will have to be undertaken. The advantages, however, of holding simultaneous polls are manifold.


Bringing About Simultaneous Polls

PRIME Minister Narender Modi has once again raised the pitch for common voter list and simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha, state assemblies and local bodies. But the biggest obstacle in holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies is unstable governments and hung state assemblies that bring about mid-term polls. The mid-term  elections will defeat the very purpose of simultaneous polls. This possible situation can be best tackled by electing Chief Minister, Speaker and deputy speaker in a state simultaneously through secret and compulsory vote through EVMs equipped with VVPAT. The  nominations should be signed by at least 34 per cent members of the House; abstaining members should be made to lose right to vote in the House, although they can retain membership. Such elected incumbents may be removed through same process but with compulsion to name alternate leader in the same motion. Also elections to posts of President and Vice-President should be held simultaneously in the manner President is elected by all MPs and MLAs on nominations signed by at least 34 per cent of MPs through EVMs equipped with VVPAT system. In case mid-term vacancy is caused at the post of President, Vice-President may be made President for rest of the term. However, in case mid-term vacancy is caused at the post of Vice-President then an interim Vice-President may be elected for rest of the term by MPs only. In case both regularly and simultaneously elected President and Vice-President may not be able to complete full term, fresh simultaneous elections for next five years may be held without waiting for completion of earlier five-year term to finish.


People’s Power Shows The Way

GOA seems to be showing the way! Rocked by agitations against coal transportation and double tracking, the coastal state has ably demonstrated that even the mightiest of governments can buckle under pressure and give into the wishes of the people. Though yet to claim a victory, it cannot be denied that the vehement protests have been an encouraging start. This could well have been for the first time that the elected representatives in the government have been approached by the people to endorse an agitation and thus magnify the voices of dissent which have resonated in the corridors of power in the state. The peaceful march by the people of Nuvem and Loutolim to their MLA’s house demanding the scrapping of projects which were not in the interest of Goa and the Goans and the assurances given by the legislator that the Sawant government would respect the sentiments of the people is one such development that should be lauded for its novelty. However, the eleventh-hour ‘intervention’ of quite a few from the ruling faction in the ongoing protests cannot be seen as anything but a last-ditch effort by the MLAs to keep their heads above the turbulent waters – politically that is. The show of solidarity with the agitators is unfortunately not born of an innate wish to save Goa for posterity but comes of a desperation to hang on to power under all circumstances, or so it would seem. Barring the Cortalim BJP legislator who has been the most vociferous critic of the double-tracking project so far, it was quite disturbing to observe the reactions of many of the ruling members who were quite conspicuous by their silence over the matter, especially the Congress turncoats who hold positions of prominence in the government. The response of the Opposition leaders to the unrest is quite understandable. If it has been an issue that they wanted to corner the BJP dispensation with, they have one right at their doorstep. It is however the manner in which the agitating groups have managed to keep the ‘attention seekers’ away from the forefront of the protests that has been commendable. A struggle of the people, by the people and for the people against unpopular development agendas of the government is quite evident in Goa!