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Modi's ‘One Nation, One Election’ Rhetoric Aims to Undermine INDIA's Strong Pitch

Bhasha Singh |
Will Modi's announcement of a special session and ‘One Nation, One Election’ rhetoric be able to undermine opposition unity and obscure corruption revelations about Adani?
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The axis of political events is rotating very fast. Looking at the fast unravelling events, it is becoming very difficult to guess anything at this juncture. Only one thing is becoming very clear that before the general elections of 2024, Indian voters and citizens are going to witness an unexpected event. The government seems to be preparing to do something big, something unexpected. This election is not going to be an ordinary general election and there are murmurs about it even among the common Indian voters. From government officials to auto-rickshaw drivers and street vendors, everyone has expressed their views in different ways that the sceptre era of Modi ji will not go like this! 

Important political events or developments that took place between August 30 and September 1, 2023, put a stamp on these rumours-apprehensions-speculations. On one hand, the opposition alliance namely I.N.D.I.A (India Alliance) which held its meeting in Mumbai announced on September 1 that they will contest the next Lok Sabha elections together and defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party. They (India Alliance) called upon this fight to save the country and save the nation from the unprecedented crisis we are facing. According to the opposition leader, India never faced such a crisis after independence. Therefore, to rescue the country from this crisis, a bigger resolve to fight together is the need of the hour.

The central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it is going to call a five-day special Parliament session from September 18. Giving rise to speculations about the holding of Lok Sabha elections early, the issue of one nation, one election was again raised and a committee was also hastily formed under the leadership of the former President. These are the only three important developments that indicate that the Modi government is determined to destroy the atmosphere being created in favour of the opposition. Meanwhile, there has been a political uproar over the corruption revelations of industrialist Gautam Adani, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

First of all, let's discuss about INDIA alliance. It became clear from the two-day meeting held in Mumbai (August 31-September 1, 2023) that I.N.D.I.A has become stronger despite raids on opposition leaders by various investigative agencies (CBI, ED, etc.). In a way, the chessboard for a one-to-one fight has been chalked out. Although two states from South India – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – were missing, there was a strong will for adequate representation from other places. The Congress has shown maturity in terms of political edge and leadership and there is an internal consensus regarding the leadership of Rahul Gandhi who has been established as the nucleus of I.N.D.I.An alliance. After the Mumbai meeting of the I.N.D.I.A. coalition, there is a very complex task of seat-sharing ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, but the consensus among the opposition camp that everyone will fight together is enough to trouble the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP alliance was able to get only 42% vote share. Since then, many political parties have distanced themselves from the NDA alliance. In such a situation, it is natural for the Modi government to be upset with the emerging I.N.D.I.A. alliance. 

The way the Modi government announced the convening of a special session of Parliament, especially when the meeting of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance was in session and that too without making the agenda of the special session public, has given rise to speculations and conjectures on a large scale. The first thing that happened due to this was that the headlines shifted from the I.N.D.I.A meeting to the special session. Secondly, reports started circulating about whether this session was being called to hold general elections in December itself. Now, if analysed carefully, the speculations about the moves of the Modi government are to divert the entire focus from the unity of the opposition alliance, its preparation, and its strategy. The mainstream or corporate media, which had reached Mumbai to cover the I.N.D.I.A. meeting, also started its prime-time shows on this announcement of the Modi government.

Meanwhile, through these tactics, the Modi government successfully tried to suppress the second big revelation regarding industrialist Gautam Adani, who is considered a friend of Modi. The big expose about Gautam Adani by Hindenburg report that came this year reveals a sorry picture of corrupt practices and manipulation of investors and their shares. The names of the investors and complete details of the shell companies through which Gautam Adani has routed the money by using his brother are now under scrutiny. 

Since this revelation also happened at the international level, it was not easy for the Modi government to control its damage. Rahul Gandhi, who attended the meeting of I.N.D.I.A., also held a press conference on this revelation on August 31 in Mumbai and demanded a thorough inquiry into the matter. Anyway, the ghost of Adani is continuously troubling the Modi government and will continue to do more in the days to come. This is the first time that the name of the prime minister of the country has been linked with an industrialist in such a way. In the reply given by Gautam Adani's company to this news report, they linked the revelation to running a campaign against the country. Just like the way bhakts (sycophants) or Modi’s Cabinet ministers link criticism of Modi with criticising the country. This time, the influencers who used to vote indirectly for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on social media-Twitter, were openly seen challenging others while voting in favour of Adani. Sometimes they try to put Prashant Bhushan and Mohammad Zubair of Alt News in the dock.

To divert the people’s attention, the Modi government hastily heated the political debate on the issue of one nation-one election. A committee was formed on this and former President Ramnath Kovind was made its chairman. Till now the former President has not been made a part of such committees. Its announcement itself during the meeting of I.N.D.I.A says a lot. Elections to five state Assemblies are to be held by the end of this year, and the position of the BJP in the states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Mizoram is not good. In such a situation, when the opposition has entered the field to fight the Lok Sabha elections under a cohesive alliance, confusion has been created regarding the elections. The Modi government is trying to ensure that the opposition is not able to strengthen its hold completely on the ground and such political bets can prove to be effective in that. Along with this, it is also important to keep in mind that the One Nation-One Election is a favourite issue of the Bharatiya Janata Party and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Bharatiya Janata Party had also given it a place in the election manifesto of 2014 and since then till now the Prime Minister has given arguments in its favour countless times. This can prove to be an important step for the BJP in the direction of ending the federal structure of India, by which it can begin to take India into a presidential form of elections on the lines of American democracy. That's why the BJP has made Ramnath Kovind the chairman of this committee after a lot of thought because this issue is related to the constitution and federal structure.

The coming days will be more exciting. From the G-20 summit to the real purpose of the special session of Parliament which will be revealed in the coming days will decide the future course of action. The claim of saving democracy, revelations of corporate loot, and the meeting of I.N.D.I.A. will decide the future of democracy. 

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