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Talking Point

One Election, One Nation A Political Gimmick

It will be convenient if there is a single election day in the country but it has no national significance


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the habit of turning everything big and small, important and unimportant issues into national ones. It is his ‘jumla’ or political trope. It is the tactic of an evangelist who connects all silly things and significant things to God. Mr Modi connects it to the nation. Mr Modi’s evangelical habit comes from his work as a ‘pracharak’ or a preacher in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Evangelists, religious or politically, are boring people, who take things too seriously. They lack a sense of humour and a sense of proportion. Mr Modi is one of those people who lacks humour and proportion.

He would have achieved greater success with other parties if he had put it forward as a practical solution to the cumbersomeness of elections happening in some part of the country or the other round the year. He also finds it difficult because he is the only campaigner for the party – he has reduced the party to the status of a cipher – and he finds it difficult to be campaigning continuously. So, he wants all the elections to be held at one go.

There is also the other myth that the BJP has built around Mr Modi: the party will win wherever he campaigns. He is invincible, and that when people choose Mr Modi and the party to rule at the centre, they will choose the party in the states also if simultaneous elections are held for the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies at the same time. It is a trivial argument at best. People vote differently for Parliament and for the assembly. The belief of BJP, and of Mr Modi, that he can mesmerize people to vote the same way in the assembly and parliamentary elections is a delusion.

Mr Modi should desist from the idea of one nation, one election until he is able to build a national consensus among all the parties. As a matter of fact, this is what he had promised to do. It seems that he has developed cold feet about convincing others and he wants to force his idea on the political system by compelling the Election Commission to decide on it. The Election Commission cannot do much in the matter until the state governments dissolve the assemblies before the term ends. It is possible for the BJP to force the BJP-ruled states to do so, but it cannot do much with the others. And there are states which had just done with elections.

 It is also necessary for Mr Modi and the BJP to give this ostentatious act of being pure-at-heart nationalists, and become normal politicians who fight elections to win.