The latest edition of Organiser has multiple articles on “simultaneous elections”. Chairman of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, describes the idea of “one nation, one election” as the “mother of all reforms” and argues that the time for the “one nation, one election” has come. “However, it has the danger of misinterpretation as well. When we say ‘one nation, one election’ it has a kind of connotation, which is a bit negative suggesting that one is trying to control everything, and (that) diversity and decentralisation are being rejected. That is not the intent of those who have mooted the idea of simultaneous polls,” Sahasrabuddhe claims. He adds that if we go back into the history, we find that elections (for Parliament and state assemblies) were held simultaneously for the first 20 years after Independence. “It worked till 1967, because there were no political upheavals. One of the reasons of its success was that it was unchallenged one-party rule of the Congress, both at the Centre and states,” he says. The article points out that after 1967, the situation changed and some alliance governments, including that of the Sanyukta Vidhayak Dal, were formed. But these coalition governments did not work for long and the assemblies had to be dissolved before their term ended. This is how both national and state elections got delinked. The last time it so happened was in 1971, when Indira Gandhi called for the general election in the wake of Bangladesh victory though its term was to end only an year later. After the Emergency, the tradition of holding simultaneous elections was discontinued.
Sahasrabuddhe adds that there are various demerits of the nation being in perennial election mode. He highlights the various problems which are caused by frequent elections, including the huge expenditure, campaign time and also says that multiple polls on multiple occasions hampers political and governance stability hugely. Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi writes that simultaneous elections is a far-reaching electoral reform, but if it is to be implemented there has to be a political consensus. “It is good that the government is encouraging a debate on the subject rather than forcibly pushing it,” Quraishi writes.
The Bru accord
An editorial in Organiser calls the Bru Repatriation Accord, a tripartite agreement signed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the governments of Tripura and Mizoram and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) as another testimony to the Narendra Modi government’s seriousness in ensuring stability, peace and development through the democratic process in the Northeast. However, the editorial warns that the “devil lies in details”. “What is not clear is whether Mizos have accepted the Bru demand for an autonomous district council, which was the original bone of contention,” the editorial says.
The editorial argues that all the tribes, whether in Northeast or elsewhere, are the real mainstream and represent the Bharatiyata of celebrating a culture of diversity. “Binding them in this common thread and learning from them to ‘live with nature’ should be the ultimate goal, as envisaged by the first Scheduled Tribe Commission. The settlement of Bru refugee crisis would hopefully set the ball rolling in this direction,” the editorial reads.In 1997, the Reang or Bru had to flee their land in the border districts of Mizoram and had to take shelter in the Jampui Hills of Tripura, the editorial claims and adds that as many as 32,876 people belonging to 5,407 families are set to return to their home state following the agreement.
Panchjanya’s cover story questions the motive behind the making of Sanju, a biopic of actor Sanjay Dutt. The article refers to Sanjay as a spoiled brat with links to those behind the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. Should these qualities of Sanjay be glamourised and glorified on the big screen and he be presented as an “ideal” to the masses? The article wonders if the movie is a PR exercise to “whitewash” Sanjay’s chequered past. The article also questions the importance the Mumbai film industry has given to mafias and the underworld in recent years. The article asks why are big budget films made on “most wanted” criminals like Dawood Ibrahim, his sister Haseena Parkar, Chhota Rajan, Abdul of Gujarat, Arun Gawli, Haji Mastan etc. It also flags the funding of these films.