On 4/10/2017 Election Commissioner O. P. Rawat told reporters Election Commission is ready to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls from September 2018 onwards. The government wanted to know about the possibility of holding simultaneous polls and the Election Commission has replied to the government.
It is good to have simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, Legislative Assemblies and local bodies. Modi government wants to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls but local body polls also should be held on the same day. One polling booth is enough for casting votes for different polls.
Holding simultaneous polls has problems in a parliamentary democracy. India should go for a new Constitution and presidential democracy. Simultaneous polls were the norm in India till 1967. After that the cycle got disrupted.
Simultaneous polls has to be a process spread over five years beginning in 2019. Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana polls are due that year. Other Legislative Assemblies should be allowed to complete their five year terms and Legislative Assemblies elected after that should have their terms expire in 2024. Similar should be the process for local bodies. From 2024 India will have simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, Legislative Assemblies and local bodies. Lok Sabha should elect President who will have executive powers and Vice President. Ministers should be appointed by President after approval by Lok Sabha. Legislative Assemblies should elect Governors who will have executive powers and Lieutenant Governor. Ministers should be appointed by Governors after approval by Legislative Assemblies. Ministers are individually responsible to President or Governor. They continue to hold power in case of death or resignation of President or Governor. There need not be Prime Minister or Chief Minister.
Elections to Lok Sabha, Legislative Assemblies, and local bodies shall be held every fifth year from 2024 onwards on 26 April, or on 27 April if 26 April is Sunday. Vote counting should be next day at 8 a.m. New Lok Sabha, Legislative Assemblies, and local bodies will begin their terms on 1 June.
There is fake news, paid news, and false propaganda.
One channel has referred to North Korea as a rogue nation and India should be concerned about it. North Korea can hit India with missiles. The news report sounded American propaganda.
North Korea is not a threat to India. North Korea is not India’s enemy. India has no border dispute with North Korea. India should be concerned about China and Pakistan. They occupy Indian territory. North Korean missiles will have to fly over China to come to India. That will be violation of China’s sovereignty. China is stronger than North Korea.
North Korea has developed missiles and nuclear weapons for its defence. It knows what happened to Iraq and Libya. Syria would have gone the same way. Russia prevented it.
Libyan mess has resulted in immigrant crisis in Italy. Greece has immigrants from Syria and other countries. Immigrants who came as refugees have committed rapes and other crimes in Austria, Germany, Sweden and other countries.
It was foolish on the part of Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to give up their nuclear weapons when they split from USSR. Iran should not have stopped its nuclear programme. India should not have gone along with sanctions against Iran. Nuclear Iran would have been a threat to Pakistan.
USA abets, arms, sponsors and trains terrorists. It calls them freedom fighters. Al Qaeda, Taliban, Al Nusra, Mujahuddeen and other groups were supported by USA.
It is wrong for India to condemn North Korea for nuclear weapons. USA had condemned India and imposed sanctions for nuclear tests in 1998.
USA, UK, France and Norway are rogue nations which helped Israel become a nuclear power. Israel supports terrorists in Syria. Israel is a rogue nation.
USA wants to sell arms to Japan and South Korea. American military industry wants to profit from war.
USA is not concerned about democracy. USA has toppled many democracies. There is no democracy in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia buys arms from USA and USA is happy about it. Saudi Arabia kills civilians in Yemen and USA is silent about it. No talk of Saudi Arabia as a rogue nation.
Regime change in the name of removing a dictator has led to instability in Iraq and Libya.
India should resist American domination. India should continue to do business with North Korea. India should remember how USA treated Devyani Khobragade. India has to act alone against Pakistan and China.
On 3/9/2017 at 10.30 a.m. was probably the last major reshuffle of Modi Government before 2019 elections. Nine new ministers were inducted, all Ministers of State. Four Ministers of State were promoted as Cabinet Ministers. Portfolios of some ministers changed.
Most significant change was the promotion of Nirmala Sitharaman as Cabinet Minister with Defence Ministry. She is a lightweight politician given a heavyweight ministry as a counterweight to Sushma Swaraj who is External Affairs Minister. It is strange that Arun Jaitley continued to hold Defence Ministry and left for Japan to meet Shinzo Abe to prepare for his visit to India and Nirmala will take charge of Defence Ministry after Jaitley’s return. Either Nirmala should have gone to Japan or her promotion and change of portfolio should have been after Jaitley’s return.
Piyush Goyal became Railways Minister. Suresh Prabhu got Commerce and Industry. Suresh Prabhu’s change of portfolio from Railways to Commerce was expected as there were three accidents in recent days and he had offered to quit. It is said Modi wanted Nitin Gadkari to become Railways Minister. Gadkari said less than two years are left for next election. There is not much he can do. If there is a road accident, Surface Transport Minister is not blamed for the accident. If there is a Railway accident, Railways Minister is blamed for the accident.
Suresh Prabhu said every ministry is important and his change of portfolio from Railways to Commerce and Industry is not a demotion.
Shiv Sena and JD(U) did not get any ministry. Shiv Sena expected a ministry. There was talk of JD(U) getting a ministry. Modi has made it clear that he is not Atal Behari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh. He does not need allies. Allies need him. Allies can sulk. He won’t care. BJP has majority on its own in Lok Sabha. Presidential and Vice Presidential elections are over. Shiv Sena has been critical of BJP many times. NCP and TRS had said they are not joining the government.
Two new ministers, Hardeep Singh Puri and Alphons Kannanthanam, are not Members of Parliament. They are likely to be elected to Rajya Sabha. Alphons is from Kerala. His induction is said to be to get Christian votes in Kerala for BJP.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Kalraj Mishra, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan were out. Kalraj Mishra was 77, above the unofficial age limit of 75 of Modi cabinet.
Uma Bharti’s portfolio changed from Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Drinking Water and Sanitation. Nitin Gadkari holds additional charge of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The cabinet has right men at the wrong places. Hardeep Singh Puri should have been in External Affairs Ministry. He is given independent charge of Housing and Urban Affairs. Raj Kumar Singh and Satyapal Singh should have been in Home Ministry. Raj Kumar Singh is given independent charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy. Satyapal Singh is MoS in HRD and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Rajyavardhan Singh is now Sports Minister and right man at the right place. Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh continues to be right man at the wrong place.
Congress said reshuffle was maximum government and no governance. This was against Modi’s slogan “minimum government, maximum governance.”
About Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said “But, what is interesting is the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman. This is probably the first instance when somebody has been elevated for non-performance… There is nothing on the balance sheet of the Commerce Minister to justify her promotion.” Referring to free fall of exports and imports for 38 months Tewari said “We only hope she does not do the same thing to the Defence Ministry.”
Sitaram Yechury said the reshuffle was an event management exercise to divert attention from demonetisation disaster. Mayawati said the reshuffle was to divert attention from government’s failure to tackle poverty and unemployment.
Many states do not have full-time Governors. It speaks poorly of Modi Government that it has not found suitable persons to be Governors.