One candidate, one seat

by Abbas Adil

IN an effort to check wasteful expenditure, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has rightly recommended to the government changes in election laws to bar candidates from contesting more than one seat in both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and impose a fine on candidates vacating their seat. The question remains related to the larger electoral reforms and the need for political parties to agree for change. Most candidates who contest more than one seat are the frontline leaders of their parties with a lot at stake, which, sometimes, can translate into a battle for their political future.

Curbing money and muscle power in elections has been a challenge for the ECI and the voting process has seen many changes of late, with the poll panel commendably adapting to the conditions to hold elections to Assemblies amid the Covid pandemic. Just as the EVMs did away with ballot paper and manual counting, the ECI is keen on ‘one candidate, one constituency’ because the candidature of major nominees in multiple constituencies leads to greater deployment of security forces and more election-related work for the administrative staff, apart from their routine duties.

The vacation of a seat can be because of genuine reasons like death or disqualification under legislation enacted by Parliament. For instance, in the case of Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll to be held on


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