Simultaneous Elections: A Unified Approach

The ONOE can give more time for the formulation and implementation of public welfare schemes. 
Keywords: Elections, Lok Sabha State, Parliament, ONOE, Welfare, Democracy
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Democracy is a system which helps people put forth their opinions and ideas. Conducting Elections is one of the fundamental features of  Democracy in our country. Currently, elections are held at three levels at different times. Recently,  the Central government formed the Eight-Member Committee under the chairmanship of former President of India Mr. Ramnath Kovind to examine the option of conducting a ‘One Nation-One Election (ONOE)’. ‘One Nation One Election’, envisions structuring the electoral calendar so that elections to Lok Sabha, State Assemblies, and local government bodies occur simultaneously or get clustered together in a predetermined cycle. (Goyal, 2019). With the Lok Sabha elections of 2024 underway, now is an ideal time to have an open discussion about the possibility of conducting a single unified election for the entire nation.

The Merits of ONOE are as follows:

Improving Governance:  A research paper by NITI Aayog estimated that ONOE could save up to Rs.11,000 crore ($1.6 billion) annually. It can also help bring about policy stability as governments won’t change as frequently due to elections. ONOE can lead to a decreased duration of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which disrupts the governance cycle (Bansal, 2019). The ONOE can give more time for the formulation and implementation of public welfare schemes.   

It can also help in Reducing Financial Burden: When elections are held multiple times they are more expensive due to the need for security, logistics, and administration. Simultaneous elections could potentially reduce these costs significantly. In the 2019 elections alone more than 20 lakh personnel were mobilised and the total cost of the 2019 Lok Sabha election went up to Rs.55000 crores which could be spent more efficiently. It can be helpful by ensuring Consistent implementation of Policies: By conducting simultaneous elections government tenures would be less affected by electoral pressures. That can help to develop foreign , defense, economic and fiscal policies, infrastructure projects and others more efficiently.

Conducting simultaneous elections can Reduce Political Polarization: Simultaneous elections can greatly help in terms of reducing various problems like regionalism, casteism, and communalism (Sharma, 1976). When elections are held frequently it leads to divisive campaigns and increased polarisation.   

However there are certain Demerits of ONOE:

Logistical Challenge: According to Meenakshi Bansal, “A total of 20 lakh security personnel were deployed just in the 2019 elections (Bansal, 2019). So how will we manage this when we will have to deal with an increase in the total number of voting rounds as well as a bigger demand for security personnel and other resources to conduct the elections? Another challenge is an Erosion of Federalism: The German concept known as ‘Bundestreuse’ I.e. Loyalty towards the federation, is of great importance to maintain the sovereignty and integrity of the nation (Stepan A, 2011). The implementation of the  ONOE can lead to changes in the power structure dynamics and it can create problems in the long run. The inefficiency of the Inter-State Council proves this point. As per the provisions it had to meet thrice a year, however, in the last 26 years, it held its meetings just 11 times. (Rao, 2004).  

Another big challenge is the Problem of Synchronization:  Adam Ziefeld mentions in his paper ‘Coalition Government And Party System Change’ that, from Independence until 1989, Article 356 (President’s Rule) was mainly utilised to dismiss ‘Unfriendly States’. The frequency of using Article 356 increased to 3.1 times per year. After the Bommai Judgement (1994) the recourse to Article 356 is still used 1.5 times per year (A, 2012). Thus, the misuse of Article 356 is a really big problem and it is a challenge to conduct simultaneous elections after the state governments are dismissed.  Another big demerit is the Problem of Feasibility which is challenging both in terms of Government formation and conducting elections at the state level. How will the governments be formed? What if the central government falls? What if the governments at the state level fall?    

Sr. No  States  Upcoming Elections  
1Haryana/ Maharashtra  2024  
2Bihar/Delhi  2025  
3Punjab/Himachal Pradesh/Gujarat   2027  

The above table lists the upcoming elections of the state legislative assemblies. If elections are going to be held in these states, what will be the plan of action to conduct ONOE?  

The biggest problem arises due to Procedural Challenges: The Law Commission headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan (Law Commission 21st Report)  reported that it is not feasible in the existing framework of the constitution. It requires changes in the ‘Representation of People’s Act 1951’ and ‘Rules of Procedures of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies’. Articles 83 and 85 of the Indian Constitution deal with the tenure of the Central Legislature which is the Lok Sabha whereas Articles 172, 173 and 356 deal with the tenure of state legislatures. Hence, conducting  simultaneous elections is a difficult task. Therefore after analysing all these aspects, we can conclude that conducting simultaneous elections is problematic. 

The high-powered committee, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, has submitted a comprehensive report on the “One Nation, One Election” concept to Hon’ble President Smt. Droupadi Murmu. After taking into account suggestions from various stakeholders, the committee has expressed unanimous support for the idea of conducting simultaneous elections across the nation. The committee’s key assertion is that implementing concurrent elections would bring about a substantial transformation in the electoral process and in overall governance. They have highlighted that such an approach could optimise limited resources and encourage greater voter participation, thereby enhancing the democratic process. Furthermore, the committee has emphasised the potential of simultaneous elections to address disruptions to governance and policy paralysis that result from the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct, thereby reducing its adverse impact on the nation’s economic growth.

The proposed Constitutional Amendments outlined by the committee encompass significant changes to the Indian Constitution, primarily related to electoral processes and legislative terms. The First Bill proposes alterations to the length of the term of the House of People and State Legislative Assembly, without necessitating state ratification. Likewise, the Second Amendment seeks to modify the process of preparation of the electoral rolls, advocating for simultaneous elections for Municipalities, Panchayats, and general elections, which would require ratification from at least half of the states, given its substantial implications for State affairs. These amendments aim to simplify electoral procedures and coordinate elections at various levels of governance across the country. The suggested amendments also include the introduction of several new articles, such as 82A, 324A, and 325(2,3), which underscore the empowerment of the President and the Election Commission for conducting simultaneous elections and preparing electoral rolls. The committee’s recommendations are accompanied by an informed perspective on the Constitution’s adaptability, referencing the principles laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala. In this context, the committee underlines that the Constitution must be flexible enough to accommodate the evolving needs of society and governance, indicating a proactive stance towards ensuring that democratic processes evolve in tandem with societal requirements. The committee’s report also dispels the misconception that the “One Nation, One Election” concept is unconstitutional by pointing out that the Constitution-makers initially foresaw simultaneous elections for the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies. By highlighting the historical precedents of simultaneous elections in India and their potential to save public funds and strengthen democratic governance, the committee has made a compelling case for the transformative potential of this initiative.  

Thus, to conclude “One Nation, One Election” involves addressing various logistical, constitutional, and political challenges. Key steps include bringing an amendment to conduct elections at the state and national levels together, ensuring a secure electronic voting system, and garnering political consensus among diverse parties. The 79th report of the Rajya Sabha titled ‘Feasibility of conducting simultaneous elections’ can be a good reference as it took into account diverse views from various political parties and included their suggestions in its report. Initially the policy can be tested in some states where the state assembly elections are aligned with Lok Sabha elections and observations can be made therefrom. Ultimately, a bipartisan approach, cooperation among states, and a commitment to the democratic process by consensus building will be essential for the successful implementation of this ambitious electoral reform in India.  


Sourav, S. (2024). Constitutional Amendments Suggested By The Panel On “One Nation One Election”. Law Street Journal.

(2015). 79th report on holding simultaneous elections to the house of people (lok sabha and state assemblies). Standing committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice .  

A, Z. (2012). Coalition government and party system change: explaining the rise of regional political parties in India. Comparative politics Vol 45(1), 69-87.  

Bansal, M. (2019). The concept of one nation one election: An analysis from Indian perspective. Think India journal.  

Goyal, A. K. (2019). The desirability of one nation one election in India: simultaneous elections. The journal of social, political and economic studies- Vol 22(4), 110-120.  

Rao, M. a. (2004). Asymmetric federalism in India . UC Santacruz International working paper.  

Sharma, S. (1976). Interstate council : an aspect of cooperative federation. Indian Journal of Public Administration Vol22(3), 4-8.  

Stepan A, L. J. (2011). Crafting state nations: India and other multinational democracies. JHU Press Care.  

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Alok Virendra Tiwari

Alok Virendra Tiwari holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mumbai University. He is currently part of the Chanakya Fellowship in Social Sciences at Chanakya University, Bangalore. He has worked with National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and was part of the Delegate affairs team of Y20.

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