Polity Notes


India is the largest democracy in the world in terms of number of voters. The idea of One Nation, One Election has come to the centre stage after the present NDA Government led by hon’ble Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi has advocated to conduct elections to the Lok Sabha and of all State Vidhan Sabhas simultaneously from the year 2029. The idea One nation, One election is to synchronize the timing of Lok Sabha and States Vidhan Sabha elections across all states to reduce the frequency of polls throughout the country, and also to conduct the elections to the local bodies such as Rural Local Bodies for example Gram Panchayat, Block Smiti, Zila Parishad, and Urban Local Bodies for example Nagar Nigam, Nagar Palika, Nagar Parsihad, Cantonment Board, etc. within one hundred days of conducting election to the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures, and after that there would be election holidays for five years.

The current electoral system of the country holds separate polls for the Lok Sabha and State Vidhan Sabhas. These elections are held generally in a gap of five years, i.e., when the tenure of the Lok Sabha or the State Vidhan Sabha concludes, or either of them is dissolved prematurely.


After the enforcement of the Constitution, the first-ever general elections for both the Lok Sabha and States Vidhan Sabha were conducted simultaneously in the year 1951–1952. This practice continued for the next following three Lok Sabha elections until 1967. The cycle was first broken in 1969 after the Central Government invoked Article 356 to dismiss the then Kerala government. Subsequently, due to defections and counter-defections between parties, several Legislative Assemblies dissolved post-1970, which eventually led to separate polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.


Currently, the assembly polls in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are being held together with the Lok Sabha elections 2024. The aim of the present government is to conduct simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and all the Vidhan Sabhas from the year 2029, and thereafter to conduct elections to local bodies within 100 days of conducting election to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas.


• Focused Governance: It will enable the government to concentrate on governance once the elections are over.

• Continuity in Policy Decisions: The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately after the elections are announced by the Election Commission (EC). No new policy decisions are taken during elections due to the MCC. No new projects can be inaugurated or announced during the commencement of MCC. Therefore, development work get delayed both at the Centre and in the states and local bodies.

• Reduced Cost of Elections: An enormous amount of money has to be raised at every election. Election expenses of political parties can be reduced drastically if elections are held simultaneously. According to a report, during 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Rs 60, 000 Crores were spent. Moreover, the same electoral rolls can be used for all the elections. This will save a tremendous amount of time and money spent in updating electoral rolls.

• Reduced Deployment of Security Forces: A large number of police personnel and paramilitary forces are engaged to ensure that elections are conducted peacefully. Such deployment can be curtailed with simultaneous elections.

• Reduced election fatigue and enhanced participation: Regular holding of elections leads to fatigue among voters. Holding simultaneous polls will reduce the election fatigue among voters and promote participation in the electoral process.

• Political parties may become complacent after the election: Regular elections serve as a mechanism for accountability. When political parties know that they must face the electorate periodically, it incentivizes them to perform well and govern effectively. If they fail to meet the expectations of the people in one area, they risk losing power in the next election. This dynamic encourages parties to focus on fulfilling their promises, addressing the needs of their constituents, and delivering good governance to maintain or regain power. It also provides an opportunity for the electorate to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the ruling party's performance, thereby keeping them in check. For example, when a political party loses an election in one state, it often triggers a period of introspection and analysis within the party. This introspection can lead to a renewed focus on addressing issues and improving governance, not only in the state where they lost but also in other states where they are in power or contesting elections.

However, by holding elections just once in five years may lead to political parties becoming complacent as they no longer have to face regular elections.



• Logistical Challenges: It will pose logistical challenges in terms of availability and security of electronic voting machines, personnel and other resources. EC may face difficulties in managing such a massive exercise.

• Against the idea of Federalism: The idea of ONOE does not square with the concept of ‘federalism’ as it is established on the notion that the entire nation is “one” contradicting the content of Article 1 which envisages India as a “Union of States”.

• Legal Challenges: The earlier (21st) Law Commission headed by Justice B. S. Chauhan reported the simultaneous elections are not feasible within the existing framework of the Constitution. It said that the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would require appropriate amendments to conduct simultaneous polls.

• Overshadowing the Regional Interests: The present form of recurrent elections can be seen as beneficial in a democracy as it allows voters to have their voices heard more frequently. As the underlying issues of national and State polls are different, the present framework prevents the blending of issues, ensuring greater accountability.


Constitutional and Legal provisions would require overhaul in order to ensure that cycle of one nation, one election does not break down on account of premature dissolution of either Lok Sabha or any Vidhan Sabha. Following are the relevant provisions which would require appropriate amendments:

• Article 83 and Article 172 deals with the duration of the Houses of Parliament and State Legislature respectively and guarantees a five-year term to both the bodies, unless they are dissolved sooner.

• Article 356 of the Indian Constitution comes into action in case of governance and constitutional failure in a state and deals with the President’s Rule.

• Amendments in the Representation of People Act, 1951 and the Anti Defection Law must be made for stability in both Lok Sabha and state assemblies.


Union Government formulated a high level committee on 2nd September 2023 under the chairmanship of ex-President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind to look into the matter of possibility of implementation of ONOE and then give recommendation on this issue.

The other members of the Committee:

• Shri Amit Shah, Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation.

• Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

• Shri N.K. Singh, former Chairman, 15th Finance Commission.

• Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap, former Secretary General, Lok Sabha.

• Shri Harish Salve, Senior Advocate and former Solicitor General of India.

• Shri Sanjay Kothari, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner

• Dr. Niten Chandra was the Secretary of the HLC.

Note: Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Law and Justice was a Special Invitee.


The High level Committee on Simultaneous Elections constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Ram Nath Kovind, former President of India, submitted its report. The report, comprising 18,626 pages, is an outcome of extensive consultations with stakeholders, experts and research work of 191 days, since its constitution on 2 September, 2023. The Committee held extensive consultations to understand the views of different stakeholders. 47 political parties submitted their views and suggestions, out of which 32 supported simultaneous elections. Many political parties had extensive discussions with the HLC on this matter. In response to a public notice published in newspapers in all the States and Union territories, 21,558 responses were received from citizens from all over India. 80 per cent of the respondents supported simultaneous elections. Experts on law such as four former Chief Justices of India and twelve former Chief Justices of major High Courts, four former Chief Election Commissioners of India, eight State Election Commissioners, and Chairman, Law Commission of India were invited by the Committee for interaction in person. Views of the Election Commission of India were also sought.

After careful consideration of all suggestions and viewpoints, the Committee recommends a two-step approach to lead to the simultaneous elections. As the first step, simultaneous elections will be held for the Lok Sabha and State Vidhan Sabhas. In the second step, elections to the Urban Local Bodies and the Rural Local Bodies will be synchronized with the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas in such a way that Urban Local Bodies and the Rural Local Bodies elections are held within one hundred days of holding elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas.

The Committee also recommended that there should be a single electoral roll and Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) for use in elections to all the three tiers of elections.

The system of ONOE can be started from the year 2029. In case of premature dissolution of Lok Sabha by the President, the elections for next Lok Sabha should be conducted only for the remaining 5 years term of Lok Sabha, e.g. if Lok Sabha is dissolved prematurely by President in 2032, then next Lok Sabha tenure will be up to 2034 only.

Similarly, if a Vidhan Sabha is dissolved prematurely by the state governor, then the elections for that Vidhan Sabha should be held only for the remaining 5 years term. Thereafter simultaneous election should be held in 2034 for the next Lok Sabha and all the State Vidhan Sabhas, and thereafter elections for local bodies within one hundred days.

Let us hope that ONOE will be a reality from 2029 onwards. This will change the election system in our country to a great extent and may become one of the major election reforms.