'One nation, one election' a threat to democracy and federalism: CPI(M)

 Calling the ‘one nation, one election’ concept being pushed by the BJP a “threat to democracy and federalism, the CPI(M) on Thursday the opposition should not be caught unawares when the Modi government makes its move in Parliament on the matter and should unitedly defeat such a proposal.

In the latest editorial of the party mouthpiece People’s Democracy, titled ‘One Nation, One Election: Threat to Democracy and Federalism’, the party has alleged that the government and the BJP are planning “another serious assault on the Constitution and the very basis of parliamentary democracy in India.”

“The BJP has conducted 25 webinars in the last week of December 2020 to propagate the idea of ‘one nation, one election’. This came in the background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi making one of his periodic pronouncements about the need for ‘one nation, one election’. The latest was at the 80th Presiding Officers’ Conference on November 26, which happened to be the Constitution Day,” it said

The edit alleged that the underlying message is that too many elections are not good for democracy, more important is governance.

“This is in line with what the CEO of the Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant, said that there is too much democracy in India with regard to the farmers’ struggle. The message is as clear as daylight — the call for ‘one nation, one election’ is a logical extension of ‘one nation, one leader’ and the leader has declared that this is ‘not a matter of debate but a necessity for India’,” it said.

It alleged that the Constitutional changes that will be required to bring it about will fundamentally change the character of parliamentary democracy and destroy federalism in the country.

Outlining the “dangers” of ‘one nation, one election’, the editorial goes on to say that centralised control of state legislatures and state governments will be established in such a system.

It alleged that the BJP has been consistently putting out the idea since it appeared in its election manifesto in 2014.

It said that the current thrust and campaign of the BJP presages a serious effort in this direction.

“We have witnessed the constitutional chicanery which was indulged in to nullify Article 370 and dismantle the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The opposition should not be caught unawares when the Modi government makes its move in Parliament, whenever that will be. The Congress party has to be especially mindful in this regard, as its vacillating stand on the removal of Article 370 was fully exploited by the BJP.

“The regional parties, particularly those in power in the states, have the most to lose with this authoritarian ‘one nation, one election’ scheme. The limited autonomy that exists for the state governments will go. The exercise of democratic norms such as recommending the dissolution of the Assembly earlier, or, of framing the political agenda for the Assembly elections will be overridden by hitching the Assembly election to the central election for Parliament,” it said.

The edit said that it is due to the “supineness and opportunism” of parties like the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, TRS in Telangana and the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh that the Modi government had “got away” with so many attacks on states’ rights.

“They should wake up and oppose this draconian anti-democratic, anti-federal move. If they join hands with the rest of the opposition, the BJP’s legislative skulduggery can be defeated,” it said.

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