The year 2024 is not an election year but an election year with more than 64 countries, including the European Union, slated to go to polls involving more than 50% of the world population to exercise their franchise to elect their popular governments and political leaders broadly rooted in the will of the people.

The upcoming parliamentary elections in India, the world’s largest democracy with a population of approximately 1.5 billion, are of significant importance. These elections, scheduled for April, will determine the country’s new government for a 5-year tenure. The elected government will play a crucial role in shaping various socio-economic-political policies and programs, including climate policies, in the best interest of the people. This year’s elections are expected to be fiercely contested, with massive citizen mobilization following the announcement of policies by various political parties, namely the Congress (centrist or moderate), the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP, the rightist), and the Left (communist or left).

Congress and the BJP will be the main contenders for the newly formed government, with the Left being a fringe party. Some political parties declare their leaders ahead of elections, while others decide after the election results are announced and known to the public. This is done owing to the political tactics and strategy in the country and to assess the mood of the public in their choice of the political leader of a designated political party.

It may be mentioned that India, by the nature of its country’s constitution, is a quasi-federal political system where federal and sub-regions have their importance with separate election procedures. However, the term of 5 years is static in the case of federal and sub-regional elections. The 2024 elections will be federal elections to elect a Prime Minister, the executive head of the government. At the sub-regional levels, though, the Chief Minister (CM) is the executive head (parallel to the Prime Minister at the federal level with Governor as a parallel to the President at the federal level).

It can also be seen that one party can rule the nation at the federal level, and the opposition (other political parties) can rule at the sub-regional levels. Being a quasi-federal constitution, Indian federal and sub-regional governments have a clear separation of powers and responsibilities.

Indian political parties have long been supporting development and climate issues at the international levels, going as far back as 1972, during the famous Stockholm Conference, which was attended in person by the late Indira Gandhi, then India’s Prime Minister, participating actively in the conference with other heads of the governments. The late Indira Gandhi, it may be recalled, was a Congress Party’s Prime Minister and had taken decisive steps in mainstreaming India’s position across areas and socio-economic development issues heralding the party’s views on climate change and its linkage with human activities. Later, climate, development, and human-nature harmony found their place in the Congress party’s election manifestos over the decades.

Congress party ruled India with some gap up until 2014 before BJP defeated it and came to power with its Prime Minister- Narendra Modi. The BJP has addressed the issue of climate and development at several international levels, including signing up for the SGDs and the Paris Climate Treaty in 2015 in person. Prime Minister Modi also recently announced India’s improved climate commitments and pledges at COP26 and continues to take pivotal steps to combat the climate crisis in India. During his prime ministership, key steps include forming the International Solar Alliance and the Green Hydrogen and Biofuel Alliance. The BJP also has committed to halting carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and net-zero status by 2070.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard India Country Manager Pooran Chandra Pandey.

POSTED BY Pooran Chandra Pandey | Apr, 08, 2024 |