Elections 2019- Views and issues!

  1. Rule of law: Maintenance of rule of law is the most important reason for which we have a government. The law as spelt out in the Constitution needs to be fair and just and apply equally to everyone irrespective of caste, religion, gender. Historically, the application of the rule of law has not been consistent across the country. The recent spate of lynchings and mobocracy have only added to the fires and do not bode well for society. Therefore, in the coming elections we should see how manifestos, speeches and actions of political leaders across the spectrum and specifically candidates in our respective constituencies measure up against providing solutions to ensure higher adherence to the rule of law. We need to question hopefuls about their views on national security, national identity and internal security as well as structural changes to governance systems. An issue like Aadhaar or the NRC should be debated in the run up to the elections.
  2. Democratic institutions: The rule of law is enforced and strengthened by democratic institutions. By its very nature, a democratic republic implies predictability and continuity of the rule of law irrespective of who and which party governs the country. Not withstanding the “strong leader” syndrome afflicting us, it is these institutions are pillars of the country which need to be strengthened by law and practice. Laws that give more teeth to and accountability from institutions such as the RBI, CBI, the election commission and judiciary should be the focus. How will prospective candidates work towards strengthening of these institutions ? How will he/she ensure democracy percolates down to the lowest unit? Let us hear from them. Laws relating to the much talk about Lokpal, strengthening of the panchayati raj system will need to be discussed. Do candidates know enough and will they ensure they are heard?
  3. Economic strategy: Revenue mobilisation along with maintenance of law and order are known to be the key strengths of the State. A modern state also needs to steer the economy through trade and taxation policies. Should we trust the power of markets or should the state need to assume a controlling role? Under this, the GST in its current form, increasing protectionist policies need to be debated with candidates. Liberalisation of the factor markets are the need of the hour.The million dollar question of jobs and income need to be addressed by all parties/contestants.The views of the candidates/parties on changes to land and labour laws need to be ascertained. To realise its true economic potential, a country needs to invest in basic indicators like health and education. Strategies on how we can make this investment effective need to be debated and political parties need to clarify their stand on solutions to these.
  4. Others: Questions on structural changes to governance systems, incentive structures, overall trade and business policy, tax structures, devolution of tax revenues, centre-state relations, inclusive growth and social justice are some of the other subjects that need well thought-through answers from parties and their candidates.

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