One Nation One Election

One Nation One Election

What is the ‘One Nation One Election’ System?

  • The current electoral system of the country holds separate polls for the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies over a gap of five years, i.e. when the tenure of the Lower House or the state government concludes, or either of them is dissolved prematurely.
  • The term of state assemblies may not necessarily be in sync with one another or that of the Lok Sabha. As a result, the mammoth task of conducting elections goes all over the year.
  • One Nation One Election proposes that simultaneous elections be held in all states and the Lok Sabha in a gap of five years. 
    • This will involve the restructuring of the Indian election cycle in a manner that elections to the states and the center synchronize. 
    • This would mean that the voters will cast their vote for electing members of the LS and the state assemblies on a single day, at the same time (or in a phased manner as the case may be).
  • Previous instances of simultaneous elections: 
    • Simultaneous polls to states and Lok Sabha are not a newly conceived norm. 
    • Simultaneous elections have previously been conducted in India in 1952, 1957, 1962, and 1967.
    • Soon after, this norm was discontinued following the dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies between 1968 -69. 
    • Since then, the Indian Electoral system has held polls to the Centre and states separately.


  • The concept of ‘One Nation One Election’ can help keep a check on the poll expenses, party expenses, etc.
    • When the first elections to the Lok Sabha took place in 1951-52, 53 parties contested the elections, around 1874 candidates participated and poll expenses were 11 crore.
    • In the 2019 elections, there were 610 political parties and around 9,000 candidates, and poll expenses of around 60,000 crore rupees (declared by ADR) are yet to be declared by the political parties.
  • It will save public money, reduce the burden on administrative setup and security forces, ensure timely implementation of government policies, and ensure that the administrative machinery is engaged in developmental activities rather than electioneering.
  • The voters will be able to judge the policies and programs of the government, both at the state level and the central level. Also, it would be easy for the voters to determine which political party promised what and how it actually implemented the same.
  • It is also necessary to solve the problem of governance on the part of the politicians who are ruling. It is generally seen that for short-term political gains from a particular assembly election, ruling politicians avoid making harsh long-term decisions that can ultimately help the country in the long run.
  • Holding elections once in five years can provide more time to all the stakeholders i.e. political parties, ECI, paramilitary forces, and civilians for its preparation.

Challenges to ‘One Nation One Election’

  • The term of the Lok Sabha and that of the State Legislative Assemblies needs to be synchronized so that the election to both can be held within a given period.
    • For instance, the term of the present Lok Sabha will go up to 2024, but elections to some of the legislative assemblies had already taken place last year (e.g. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan) and some are due this year (for e.g. Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand), resulting in different dates of completion of the term.
  • To sync the term of the State Legislative Assemblies with that of the Lok Sabha, the term of the state legislative assemblies can be reduced and increased accordingly and for the same, constitutional amendment would be needed in:
    • Article 83: It states that the term of the Lok Sabha will be five years from the date of its first sitting.
    • Article 85: It empowers the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha.
    • Article 172: It states that the term of the legislative assembly will be five years from the date of its first sitting.
    • Article 174: It empowers the Governor of the state to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.
    • Article 356: It authorizes the Central Government to impose the President’s Rule for failure of constitutional machinery in the state.
    • The Representation of the People Act as well as related parliamentary procedure will also need to be amended.
  • The core issue which hinders its implementation is India’s Parliamentary Form of Government in which the government is accountable to the Lower House (Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly). It is quite possible that the government can fall before completing its term and the moment the government falls, there has to be an election.
  • It is difficult to convince all the political parties of ‘One Nation One Election’.

Logistical Challenges

  • At present, one voting machine is being used at every polling station for taking a poll. For holding simultaneous elections, the requirements for EVMs and the VVPATs will double, because for every polling station, the ECI has to provide two sets (one for election to the Legislative Assembly and second for that to the Lok Sabha).
  • There will also be an additional requirement of the polling staff.
  • There will be difficulty in transporting materials to the polling stations.
  • There will be a need for better security arrangements for simultaneous elections thus augmenting the Central Police Forces accordingly.
  • The ECI is already facing problems in storing EVMs after elections.

Way ahead

  • Simultaneous election is an idea whose time has come. However, since the issue is concerned with the federal structure of the Constitution, it needs to be discussed and debated properly across the political spectrum to assuage the concerns of regional parties. 
  • This will make it easier to implement the idea in the country.
  • If simultaneous polls do reduce the duration of conducting polls, political parties will have ample time to address national issues and enhance governance

Related Links:

One Nation One Ration Card SchemeAPAAR ID
Atmanirbhar BharatFive-Year Plans of India