NEW DELHI—The Welfare Party of India (WPI) has strongly opposed the concept of ‘One Nation, One Election’ (ONOE).
In a letter sent to the high-level committee, WPI has expressed its concern as a gesture of policy intervention and participatory democracy.
WPI’s national president Dr. SQR Ilyas expressed his views on the proposal to change the current procedure of election to ONOE. He said, “We will never allow a bigger disease in the name of treatment of ailing democracy.”
He mentioned many points while opposing the concept of ONOE. He said that ONOE is a challenge because implementing it will require unprecedented changes in the current laws and administrative setup. He explained that to hold elections of parliament, state assemblies, municipalities and panchayats simultaneously will require amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951.
He added that it would also require the approval of half of the state assemblies.
WPI president said that ONOE is an attack on the concept of federalism and the autonomy of the states.
He added, “It will adversely affect the independence of the states. Moreover, it will affect the balance of power between the states and the centre. It will decrease the power of the state assemblies.”
According to SQR Ilyas, If ONOE is implemented, regional and small parties will not be able to raise local issues strongly because national issues will overwhelm them. He expressed his concern that they will not be able to compete in this unequal race with the national parties in terms of election expenditure and strategy.
Dr. SQR Ilyas apprehends that this exercise of ONOE is being done to convert India into a presidential form of government.
He said, “ONOE will deplete the accountability of the central government. Elections are the time when the public can force political parties to become accountable.” He fears that due to fewer checks and balances in ONOE, the autocratic powers will overpower the system.
Dr. Ilyas alleged that in the concept of ONOE, “there is a hidden unilateralism while our society is diverse. This diversity is a fact which cannot be overlooked.”
He said that the tenure of the Lok Sabha and state assemblies is five years until they are dissolved due to different reasons. He asked, “What happens if there is a need for a mid-term poll?”
Dr. Ilyas pointed out that in the case of ONOE, a huge number of additional EVMs would be required which would be a costly affair. He cautioned that ONOE will be a logistic challenge also.