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When will India have ‘one nation one election’?

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Fayaz Ganie
Fayaz Ganie
Passionate Writer, Author and an aspiring system builder.

The perfect approach to life for an individual, and a nation, is to be, remain and act in living present while having plans for the future. Lagging behind the time or going ahead without taking due care of the present needs is failed method of dealing with the affairs of life. A nation working with the latter approach is doomed to suffer and fail.

India being a democracy is the nation of perpetual elections. No day, or at least no month, of the year passes off without there being an election in one or the other part of the country, and in one or the other level of democratic hierarchy of governance – From Parliamentary to the elections of the institutions of local self government.

Among them the elections to Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies are the main attractions, and emphasis, where the political parties utilize all their resources and manpower to gain upper hand over their opponents and acquire power, and role of governors at different levels in the federal structure.

The purpose of the elections is to elect the able and capable representatives for the best possible governance of the country. The representatives are duty bound to act as per the real interests of the ruled and the national interests of the country. In succinct, governance in the best interest of the country is the prime and primary goal, and objective, of the elections.

When governance is the objective the frequent elections in the country somehow put breaks in the better governance, and somewhere the governance of the country gets affected adversely. Especially the Parliamentary elections and the election to the State Legislative Assemblies act as impediments in the better governance of the country. In fact, it is not the elections but the way in which they are fought, and are conducted, acts as impediment towards the realization of the goals of the country.

The completion of the entire election process normally should not take more than three months. It should begin three months prior to the conduct of election and get completed in three months only. Beyond this time the political parties, and the branches, and institutions of the parliamentary democracy should devote all their time, resources and energies towards governance.

The people of the ruling party elected to govern the country should try to provide better governance to the people and the representatives belonging to the opposition should try their best to perform as responsible opposition. The interests of the country, not the interests of their respective parties, should be their first preference and priority.

However, in practice the story is completely different. There is hardly any period which is left purely for the governance of the country. At the Central Government level the political parties start their preparations around two years before the elections and during inter-election years of the parliamentary type, the innumerable elections at the state level and of local bodies make it difficult for Ministers and Ministries to work towards better governance.

In particular in the era of coalition governments the role of state elections and local body elections in the national politics has become for more important than it normally should be. The conditions today are such that in the largest democracy of the world the elections of a university become a national issue.

In the recently concluded elections of Jawaharlal Nehru University Elections bigwigs of the national politics were seen locking horns with each other. Those involved in the defense of the country were unduly concerned with the outcome of these elections, as if there is nothing to do in the Defense Ministry.

Therefore, as the country is going for elections in 2019 it seems the country is already in that year. All the moves that the Central Government makes are viewed in that context only, all policy decisions are analyzed while having the elections in mind and all the programs are arranged and managed in such a way where 2018 already seems a past story.

Even the foreign policies are conducted as if election were just on the following day. The national interest and the interests of the people have been made secondary and subservient to the first objective of parties and electoral gains. When it suits the electoral gains the death of one soldier is an attack on the sovereignty of the country and when it suits the same gains the death of many of them is even not talked of.

The parties are shedding their traditional robes, and ideologies, and wearing the new ones to stay in or gain power. In his recent address to the audience in the three day program in Delhi the RSS Chief presented a soft image of his party and talked about the inclusion and importance of Muslims and minorities in the future of India. On the face of it the speech was for good of India but the intention literally was to gain a favorable outcome in terms of elections of 2019.

The moves of the Congress Party towards Hindu appeasement are other points in sight which seeks favorable gains in 2019 elections. The role as a constructive opposition has been forgotten for now. It would have been better had these parties worked now for governance of the country and towards dealing with all the pressing problems that the country is beset with. The elections could be fought in the three months of 2019 and then back to governance. But unfortunately the reality is not so and governance, and better governance, of the country is no preference.

Amidst all this, it is reiterated, the country is lagging on governance front. Elections of 2019 seem the first and last preference of the political parties. All attempts are made to gain power out of these elections, whether legitimate or illegitimate. Criminalization of politics, communalization of the elections and caste considerations all are employed to outwit the opponents, thereby, forgetting the spirit and fundamentals on which the parliamentary form of government is based on.

India is facing lot of problems of poverty, unemployment, homelessness and unsatisfactory status of other human development indices. The country has to come out of this premature election fever and concentrate on the governance of the country – for a mature democracy should learn to limit the duration of election fever. When elections are fought for the better governance, why governance is sacrificed for the elections?

Plus, India should work for the electoral reforms where simultaneous elections are held for different levels of federal hierarchy. By doing that enough of time and resources are invested towards the betterment of the country and dealing with the problems of the country.

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Fayaz Ganie
Fayaz Ganie
Passionate Writer, Author and an aspiring system builder.
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