Modi’s “one India” goal is good for the economy, but not for politics

The world has been seeing the bright side of India. In August it landed a spacecraft on the Moon. In the latest quarter gdp grew at an annual rate of 7.8%, making it the world’s perkiest big economy. Narendra Modi, the prime minister, has just hosted a g20 summit where other leaders, including Joe Biden, courted Asia’s rising behemoth. Yet inside India the talk has turned to whether Mr Modi’s hunger for power and dreams of national renewal could lead him to bend the constitution. There are signs he wants to increase the clout of national politics and the central government, and dilute the influence of India’s 28 states—many of which are not run by his party.

The constitution grants autonomy to the states in many areas, reflecting India’s size and diversity. The reform under consideration is obscure but sensitive: synchronising state elections with national polls, potentially creating a single event every five years when India votes (a general election is due in spring next year). Next week Mr Modi is convening an unusual special session of parliament. It could be used to advance this idea. On September 1st he formed a committee to examine the feasibility of unitary elections.

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