One Nation One Election

CA  A. K. Jain

Public Notice for inviting suggestions from members of the general public for making appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections in the country.


First of all, we express our approbation to the Government of India for the constitution of a high-level committee to discuss the ‘One Nation One Election’ policy vide gadget notification number 211 of September 2nd, 2023. This is the need of the time. As desired, we offer our observations below.

The concept of "One Nation, One Election" has been a topic of considerable debate and discussion in the Indian political landscape. It refers to the idea of synchronizing the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly elections to be held simultaneously, once every five years. Proponents argue that this could lead to numerous benefits, including reduced expenditure, enhanced governance, and increased political stability.

We note from the information available on various government websites that the Government of India, Election Commission of India, and Law Commission of India are constantly engaged in improving the electoral process and bringing desired legal and procedural amendments.

From the historical records, it appears, that the subject was initially deliberated by R. K. Trivedi, Chief Election Commissioner of Indiain the First Annual Report in 1983.

Excerpts From The Annual Report ( Page 79 - 82 )

Suggestions Made, Instructions Issued By The Election Commission And Action Thereon ( Electoral Reforms )

In September, 1982 the Commission recommended holding simultaneous elections to the House of the People and the Legislative Assemblies of States for the following weighty reasons:

(1) Considerable saving on the colossal avoidable administrative and other expenditure incurred on account of holding of separate General elections.

(2) Substantial economy through revision of electoral rolls for the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies simultaneously instead of undertaking them on a countrywide basis twice over in two different operations.

(3) For the conduct of elections, civilian personnel running into about twenty-five lakhs of officers and staff and a few lakhs of police personnel are deployed every time for about two to three months thereby seriously affecting their normal duties.

(4) During elections whether for the Lok Sabha or the Assemblies, the entire administrative setup throughout the country slows down considerably and all other normal functions and activities of the Government, including developmental work, are pushed to the background. These create a lot of hardships and suffering to the common man. The situation continues for about 2 months during the conduct of every General election.

(5) Whereas changes in the administrative setup up including transfers that become necessary in the normal course are halted under the broad guidelines issued by the Commission, there are considerable pressures prior to the issue of the notification calling for a General election, to make wholesale changes, particularly at the district level.

(6) On account of the de-linking of the General elections to the House of the People from that of the State Legislative Assemblies, there is a duplication of the expenditure incurred by the candidates and political parties which results in the pumping in of considerable resources, thereby indirectly affecting money supply in the economy. Further by such de-linking, the candidates at Parliamentary election need more money and resources to fight the election singlehanded over a wide area without the backing and co-operation of companion candidates of the assembly segments. This also, it is suspected, tends to lead to difficulties for the candidates in keeping within the ceiling for election expenses.

(7) The dismantling of the temporary but complicated superstructure raised for the purpose of election by accretion of huge personnel is required to be done as speedily and smoothly as of putting up the super-structure, and normal conditions should be restored quickly. In this respect also, simultaneous elections would be highly desirable.

Having regard to the above considerations, the Commission is strongly of the view that a stage has come for evolving a system by convention, if it is not possible or feasible to bring about a legislation, under which the General elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States are held simultaneously. After all, such an arrangement worked immensely satisfactorily, generally speaking, prior to 1967. The Government of India has now intimated that it has been decided that the proposal for holding elections to the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies, simultaneously need not be proceeded with for the present.

We also note that the 177th report of the Law Commission (1999), the National Commission for Review of the Working of Constitution Report 2002, the 255th report of the Law Commission 2015, the Planning Commission Working Paper 2017,Law Commission Of India, Draft Reporton Simultaneous Elections ( dated 30 August 2018 ) have seriously contemplated the possibility of introducing one Nation one election. We are sure the present government has thoroughly examined the issue and in future appropriate decisions will be taken in the national interest.

With the information available and after due consideration, we think that frequent elections are counterproductive and interruptthe government's functioning. We are listing here below some of the logical reasoning for our statement.


Economic Efficiency:
Conducting multiple elections throughout the year imposes a significant financial burden on the exchequer. Combining elections at various levels would result in substantial cost savings, as it would eliminate the need for separate machinery, security, and administrative expenses.

Minimization of Political Distractions:
Frequent elections can lead to a continuous focus on campaigning and electioneering, which may distract elected representatives from their primary responsibilities. Synchronizing elections may allow for longer periods of governance without the constant interruption of political campaigns.

Enhanced Voter Turnout:
Voters may be more motivated to participate in elections if they only need to go to the polls once in a set period. This could result in higher voter turnout as compared to frequent, staggered elections where voter fatigue may set in.

Stability and Policy Continuity:
Synchronizing elections could lead to more stable governments with a clear mandate, as elections at various levels would be aligned. This may contribute to better policy planning and implementation without the uncertainty associated with frequent changes in government.

Reduced Administrative Burden:
Conducting elections requires significant administrative efforts and resources. By aligning election cycles, the administrative burden could be reduced, allowing government agencies to focus on other essential tasks.

Streamlined Governance:
Aligning elections could lead to better coordination and cooperation between different levels of government, fostering a more cohesive and streamlined governance structure.

Resource Optimization:
Resources such as manpower, electronic voting machines, and security personnel can be optimally utilized when elections are held simultaneously at various levels.

Economic Benefits:
The reduction in political uncertainty and the potential for policy continuity may positively impact investor confidence, leading to economic benefits.

Political Stability:
Frequent elections can lead to policy instability and political uncertainty. By having a synchronized election cycle, governments at both the central and state levels would have a fixed term, allowing them to focus on governance rather than constantly being in campaign mode.


Constitutional Hurdles:
Implementing One Nation, One Election involves amending the Constitution, as the terms of state assemblies vary. This process requires careful consideration and may face legal and political challenges.

Logistical Challenges:
The sheer scale and diversity of India pose significant logistical challenges. Coordinating elections across the country simultaneously would require meticulous planning and execution to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process.

Impact on Regional Issues:
Critics argue that a single election might overshadow regional issues, with national issues taking precedence. This could lead to a dilution of regional concerns and reduced representation for certain states.

Political Consensus:
Achieving political consensus on this matter is a formidable task. The idea has faced resistance from various political parties, each with its own set of interests and concerns.

While the concept of One Nation, One Election holds the promise of increased efficiency and stability, its successful implementation requires careful consideration of constitutional, logistical, and political factors. A thorough and inclusive national dialogue is essential to address concerns and build consensus. If executed thoughtfully, this paradigm shift could mark a new era in Indian democracy, fostering better governance and sustainable development.



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