One Nation, One Election: An Analysis of the Pros and Cons of Implementing Simultaneous Elections in India
Keywords:Federalism, Regionalism, Governance, Policy stability, Political uncertainty, Voter fatigue, Electoral logistics, Campaign costs, Incumbency advantage, Anti-defection law, One Nation One Election
This paper analyzes the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of implementing simultaneous elections across India, commonly referred to as "One Nation, One Election." This proposed reform would synchronize the timing of national, state, and local elections in order to avoid frequent election cycles. The analysis finds that synchronized elections could generate significant cost savings for both state and central governments by reducing expenditures related to election administration, security deployments, and governance disruptions. Annual cost savings are estimated to be upwards of ₹45 billion. The impact on state governments is mixed; while national issues may overshadow regional concerns, state governments would benefit from more time focused on governance versus electioneering. Citizens could experience less voter fatigue but lose the ability to express dissatisfaction with state governments at different times. For industry, synchronized elections provide more policy stability and less political uncertainty. However, extended periods of single party rule could reduce government accountability. Similarly, national parties are expected to benefit over regional parties. Overall, simultaneous elections promote improved governance focus and boost political and economic stability. Yet, the loss of regional autonomy and reduced accountability are significant risks. On balance, the analysis suggests synchronized elections would be beneficial but may require complementary electoral reforms to mitigate potential adverse impacts on regional representation and government accountability. This abstract summarizes the key findings of the full analysis while highlighting the complex considerations involved in assessing this major electoral reform proposal. The paper provides a comprehensive, evidence-based evaluation of the expected pros, cons, costs, and benefits.