ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Outlier in the North

The most significant development of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Punjab was the victory of the Congress, making the state an outlier in almost all of India, except for Kerala. Neither the Bharatiya Janata Party’s narrative of national security nor its strong leader could find much traction in the state. The significant loss of the core social constituency’s (read the Sikhs) support of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the decline or almost decimation of the Aam Aadmi Party were important developments of this election.

A Big Pay-off for BJP’s Aggressive Campaign in Jharkhand

The success of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Jharkhand in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was enabled by the popularity of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, people’s perception of the BJP being the saviour of the nation, and a sense of satisfaction with the performance of its government at the centre. However, most of these factors will not be able to mobilise the voters in favour of the party in the forthcoming assembly elections.

The Enigma of the 2019 Parliamentary Elections in Telangana

The first Lok Sabha election results after the formal creation of Telangana and its wider implications for both state and national politics are assessed. Coming as it did, within a few months of the state assembly polls, the electorate in the state made a clear distinction between the earlier state election verdict and the present verdict in the national election. What factors contributed to this change and what are the implications for the politics in the state?

What Makes a Party a National Party?

To be deemed national, a party has to demonstrate an ability to transcend regional particularities. In introducing the transcendence requirement, the Election Commission appears to propose implicitly, that though in theory all inhabitants of the territory of India are citizens, in practice, their natural-born citizenship is only confirmed by a rite of transcendence.

Electoral Reform Bill: Too Little, Too Late

The bill to amend the Representation of People's Act all but dilutes the directives contained in the Supreme Court's verdict and appears to have been drafted only to push out Election Commission's more stringent guidelines.

Election to Rajya Sabha: Proposed 'Reform'

The government is seeking to introduce amendments to the law on election of members to the Rajya Sabha by proposing open vote instead of the present secret ballot and allowing candidates to contest from any part of the country, by scrapping the 'ordinary resident' clause. While the latter proposal has met with some criticism, it is necessary to clear the confusion by drawing on the experience of the past 50 years.

Electoral Reforms: Need for Citizens' Involvement

There is no escape for concerned citizens and civil society groups from getting involved in politics without being politicians. They have to use all available means to change and continuously monitor the functioning of the political system. These means include using the judicial system through public interest litigation, the media for information dissemination and statutory organs such as the Election Commission and the Law Commission which have both proposed major initiatives for reforming the electoral system.

Elections : Keeping Criminals Out

n a milieu in which it is almost second nature for the powerful to regard themselves as above the law, the firm handling of the issue of AIADMK leader Jayalalitha’s eligibility to contest next month’s election to the Tamil Nadu assembly is a matter for profound satisfaction. After it was reaffirmed on behalf of the Election Commission that the question of a candidate’s eligibility was to be determined strictly according to the commission’s 1997 instructions which specifically barred persons convicted by a court of law and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more from contesting elections, Jayalalitha’s disqualification by the returning officers of the constituencies from where she had filed her nomination should have been a foregone conclusion. For in its 1997 order the Election Commission had specifically addressed the issue of the eligibility of those, like Jayalalitha, who had been convicted and sentenced but whose sentence had been stayed to enable them to appeal to a higher court against their conviction and decided that such persons would stand disqualified. This was necessary, in the commission’s view, to deal with the “serious problem of criminalisation of politics in which criminals, i e, persons convicted by courts of law for certain offences, are entering into fray and contesting as candidates”.
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