Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 4.31 AM IST

Election should be held on a single day


The Election Commission is preparing to hold elections to various state assemblies in mid-April. Elections are to be held in Kerala as well as in Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Assam. In the context of COVID, the task of the Election Commission and the concerned officials will be extremely arduous as voting will have to take place in the midst of unprecedented security arrangements. It is noteworthy that the Election Commission was successful in holding Assembly elections in Bihar and other during the COVID period. The lessons learned from these will be very helpful to the Commission in the forthcoming elections.

With the election fast approaching, all parties in Kerala are holding discussions to decide upon seat allocation and candidate selection. The voter list for 140 assembly constituencies was released yesterday. There are nearly 2.63 crore voters on the list. Anyone who turns 18 on January 21, 2021, can still enrol in the list. They will be able to add names to the list up to ten days before the withdrawal of nomination papers. As the right to vote is a constitutionally guaranteed right, those who have not yet registered should make the most of this opportunity. It is not enough to just add names to the list, you have to show commitment to the exercise of the right of consent. It is not enough just to be on the list, people should also show commitment to exercising their right to vote. Democracy only makes sense when the maximum number of voters exercise their right to vote.

The Election Commission has indicated that polling in Kerala will take place by mid-April. April is the perfect time to go to the polls. Examinations for Classes X and XII will end before April 15. There will also be restrictions on festivals in the COVID context. Preparations are underway to complete the assembly elections in five states between April 15 and 30. The date for polling in the state is to be decided by the Election Commission after assessing various circumstances. A final decision will be made only after consulting the political parties and the state government It is learnt that Election Commission officials will arrive in the state from Delhi in early February for the talks.

For the last few years, the assembly elections were carried out in multiple phases in the state. It is not known whether this system will continue or not. However, many have opined that it would be better to hold the elections in a single phase. There are indications that the State Election Commission is interested in holding the polls in two days in view of COVID. Both the COVID situation and election should not be mixed up. There is no problem with voters whether the election is held in one phase or two as one has to go to the polling booth only once. Moreover, in the present situation, single-phase voting has many advantages. Kerala is a state where there are no major law and order problems as elsewhere. The need for large-scale deployment does not usually occur. All the necessary infrastructure can be prepared for single-phase polling. As such, completing the polls in a single day will bring relief to the government, political parties and the people alike. Since there is no shortage of voting machines, voting will not have to be phased out. Army deployment is also unlikely to be a problem. The assembly elections were completed in a single day, even when the present facilities were not available. The results were announced the day after the polls closed. With the introduction of reforms, people were forced to wait two or three weeks for election results. The recent Bihar Assembly polls were held in seven phases. The Election Commission has indicated that the forthcoming Bengal elections will be held in several phases due to law and order issues. In the absence of such a situation in Kerala, one-day voting can be tried. The wait for the election results can be reduced by setting election dates in other states in such a way that there is no big gap.

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