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Situating The Call for One Nation One Election

September 4, 2023 | By

Political pot is boiling over the move of calling an emergency session of the Parliament. Political grapevine suggests that one of the issues to be discussed in this emergency session will be the issue of one nation one election.

The Law Ministry has issued a notification on the ‘One Nation One Election’ committee. The committee has former President of India Ram Nath Kovind as chairman and seven other members which includes Home Minister Amit Shah, Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ghulam Nabi Azad, NK Singh, Subhash C. Kashyap, Harish Salve and Sanjay Kothari.

Does it mean that proposal of one nation one election will become a reality before the 2024 Parliamentary election. It seems that the likelihood of one nation one election materializing before 2024 Parliamentary election.

It needs to be pointed out that past. The present committee is the fourth to examine the possibility of simultaneous elections. Earlier, the prospect was discussed by the Law Commission, NITI Aayog, and a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The current committee is constituted to discuss the proposal of one nation one election. Once the committee comes up with a report, it will be placed in the public domain and a discussion will be held in the Parliament.

Furthermore, any reform for one nation one election can only happen if the constitution is amended’and amendments are made in Representation of the People Act, 1951.

If one nation one election is not going to materialise prior to the 2024 Parliamentary election, why declare it with such a fanfare? Why convene an emergency session of the Parliament? Why encourage the mainstream media to organize prime time discussions on it?

It seems that this is an attempt by a government that has failed miserably address the concerns of middle class, especially of price rise, unemployment and government welfare schemes. By announcing the proposed election reform the government is attempting to grab the news cycle and to set the political agenda for the assembly elections in November 2023 and Parliamentary election 2024. In the assembly elections it is hoped by the BJP strategist, that by focusing political discussions on one nation one elections, they may succeed in contesting the 5 assembly elections on a central agenda instead of local issues.

This sudden decision to forefront one nation one election could also be a result of the nervousness of the BJP led central government over the fallout of G20 meeting.

India accepted the revolving Presidentship of G20 to showcase the international stature of PM Modi prior to the Parliamentary election. However, the moves by Russia and China has casted a shadow on the plan. Both Russia and China seem to be determined to de-emphasize G20 vis-a-vis BRICS.

Furthermore Russian demand to include its concerns in the resolution or they not approve it might dent PM Modi’s attempt to project himself as a significant international leader that has the ears of both USA and Russia. With President Biden present in the convention, it is expected that Russia will use the opportunity to make its international clout felt.

Hence, the emergency session of the Parliament to manage the potentially negative fallout of the G20 Convention.

INDIA Alliance will do well not to take the bait offered by the BJP.

Kumar Sanjay Singh
Associate Professor,
Swami Shraddhanand College, Delhi University

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