When the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lost its governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh barely four months before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi quietly stopped propagating his “one nation, one election” idea. Now that he is back in power with 21 seats more than last time, the idea has returned as have his renewed attempts to push it through.
The prime minister wants all state elections to be held along with the Lok Sabha elections. If his plan were to be implemented, there would be no assembly election across the country for the next five years.
In 2024, people will choose their MLAs along with their MPs, their chief ministers along with their prime minister. One nation, one election. If India is one, why should it have many elections?
One election is necessary in a country that is already united by one language, one religion, one enemy nation, one sport, one culture, one weather, one caste, one dress, one cuisine, one party and one leader. Only the Tukde Tukde Gang talks about diversity. If you want diversity, go to Pakistan.
Prime Minister Modi says too much money is wasted in holding state and Lok Sabha elections separately. He is right. We could save around Rs 5,500 crore every five years by organising state and Lok Sabha elections together. This money could be better utilised in building statues, such as the one in Gujarat that cost around Rs 3,000 crore. The savings could also help increase One Leader’s annual publicity budget, currently a modest Rs 1,200 crore.
It will of course cost more to put two instead of one electronic voting machines, but let’s not allow logic and facts to come in the way of national unity. Better still, we should save the money on the extra EVM, making voters choose the CM and PM with just one press of a button. The MLAs and the MPs don’t matter anyway. Ours is already a Presidential form of government like the United States. We should do one better than the US, because the Vedas said we are the best, and completely do away with electing state governments altogether. Let our presidential prime minister appoint chief ministers. In most states he already does. What makes you think the people of Haryana chose Manohar Lal Khattar, or the people of Uttar Pradesh chose Yogi Adityanath?
It is time to improve upon the concept of “co-operative federalism” and move on to “co-opted federalism”.
This federalism business is all hogwash. It creates a lot of problems. India has 29 states, and two of the seven Union Territories have their own assembly election. That’s 31 assembly elections in five years – an average of one election every two months. Is it fair to expect Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to keep fighting so many elections? How will they govern without populism if they are forced to pander to the masses all the time?
The Prime Minister rightly says the administration comes to a standstill when it’s election time. He is right: when and how will the Union government function if its entire focus is on winning state elections from Puducherry to Punjab?
Besides, critics picking holes in Modi’s idea of simultaneous polls don’t realise the amount of money and hard work it takes for the BJP to win these state elections. This is not sustainable. That’s why these slip-ups happen. Modi-Shah lost Delhi and Bihar in 2015. They lost the Hindi heartland states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in 2018. They couldn’t form the government in Karnataka, and those greedy Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs are white elephants who don’t like to trade like horses. And remember how Gujarat’s voters played hard to get in 2017?
When state and Lok Sabha elections are held together, these annoying local factors, these caste dynamics and farmers issues and so on, they will all go away. For ‘One Nation, One Election’, there will be ‘One Nation, One Issue’ and that one issue is Narendra Modi. Forget your reservation issues and farm prices and bank credit and unemployment rate. The only issue in India is whether you like Narendra Modi or not. You don’t have a choice because the alternative is Rahul Gandhi.
In fact, now that Modi is India and India is Modi, we should ask if we need state governments at all. By giving Narendra Modi majority after majority, the people of India have signed away federalism, given up on diversity and local issues, and no longer care about caste and community representation. All because they know how well One Leader is running the entire country single-handedly. Which is why we don’t need state governments at all. ‘One Nation, One Election’ should be followed by ‘One Nation, One State’.