Green parties in India

Do we need Green Parties in India?

The 18th Lok Sabha Election was conducted during a severe heatwave. The severe heatwaves resulted in the deaths of 200 people, including election officials and voters. The seven-phase election that extended over more than a month saw a lower voter turnout. The election was conducted as per schedule, results declared, and a new coalition government formed. The equilibrium between the ruling party (293 seats) and the opposition (234) can shift at any moment. All of India is on its toes until the next Lok Sabha Election.

Climate change and 2024 lok sabha election

While the political heat does not die down, the heatwave subsided. The story of heatwave deaths have faded from the minds of the people and the government. According to newspaper reports, 58 people died in Delhi due to the heatwave. The Hindustan Times reported, “Among the heatstroke cases, 40,272 were reported since March 1 — Madhya Pradesh (10,636), Rajasthan (6,546), Andhra Pradesh (3,994), Jharkhand (3,601), Uttar Pradesh (3,590), and Odisha (3,574). To be sure, the numbers are likely to be highly suppressed due to lag in the sharing of surveillance data.” The Indian Express reported that in Noida, “Amid heatwave, 7 people found dead with no injury marks.” Those who died were street dwellers or laborers. Hence, not much outcry about the deceased.

One of the reasons for the heatwave is climate change. When the heatwave became unbearable, and venturing out into the sun became a risky and lethal option, people talked about climate change. They expressed concerns about the impact of cutting down trees. They discussed the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree, which is as good as operating ten room-sized air conditioners for 20 hours a day.

Now rains have begun in various parts of India. Heavy rains, floods, cloudbursts, and other natural calamities caused by human induced global warming are becoming more frequent. These unprecedented disasters could have been averted had we taken the necessary precautions. Even now there is time for correction, where the world has to act as one family and execute appropriate solutions.

Environment issues down in the list of priorities

In India, global warming-related adversities like pollution, land erosion, floods, wildfires, heatwaves, and depleting water tables receive little political attention because environmental concerns rank lower in priority compared to issues like jobs, poverty, healthcare, housing, education, and basic infrastructure. When an issue gets the attention of the policymakers, there will be interventions and considerable persuasion leading to environmentally friendly decisions implemented in various government programs.

Worldwide, there are Green Parties in 90 countries that highlight environmental issues in their respective countries. Most of them are part of Global Greens, a network of political movements and Green Parties. For instance, there is the Green Party of the United States, which is the fourth largest party in the United States with 0.19% (234,000) registered members. The Green Party of England and Wales has 53,216 members, and the Australian Greens have 15,000 members.

The Green Parties in Europe have active government representation. By being part of coalition governments, they work towards facilitating the Green agenda. The presence that the Green Parties are able to make in the governance of developed countries shows the global acceptance of environmental issues. And establishes the fact that sustainable development is the need of the day.

When ‘g’ in the ‘green party is in small letters, it means that the party stresses environmental issues. However, if the ‘G’ in ‘Green party’ is capitalized, the party, in addition to environmental protection, focuses on other issues like social justice, human rights, and democracy.

Debut of Green Party in Indian Election

In India, this year, a Green Party debuted in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The India Green Parties fielded three candidates out of which the Sangrur parliamentary seat in Punjab got 1,105 votes, the Mumbai North West parliamentary seat got 768 votes, and the South Delhi parliamentary seat in the NCT of Delhi got 514 votes. Three candidates winning 2,387 votes in total indicates that there is space for the Green Parties in India.

The manifestos of BJP and Congress had environment, sustainability, and climate change agendas. However, it must be noted that these issues were not the reason for the parties winning the seats, and also during the election campaign, green issues received hardly any mention. On the other hand, the Green Parties focus solely on green issues in India, and they get votes only for focusing on issues that emphasize low carbon emission.

How can Green Parties in India be helpful in governance?

We know that petroleum and coal are high in carbon emissions and polluting elements. Green Parties in India will keep reminding policymakers of curbing the use of crude oil and coal. In the housing sector, affordable houses mostly have little ventilation; the buildings are closely packed with hardly any trees nearby. Such apartments cannot function without multiple air conditioners, thereby causing high emissions and power consumption. Nowadays, Green Buildings are becoming popular where the design, construction, and every aspect of building work are done in an environmentally friendly way.

Buying low-emission vehicles or building a green home is possible to some extent for the 44 crore Indians. For the 1 billion remaining population, they need government subsidies and infrastructure, for which someone must speak on their behalf in parliament. Also, corruption is what derails a well-planned green venture. Probably the Green Parties can be vigilant about the misconduct in various departments. In the manifesto of India Greens Party, it is said, “Mitigation measures and wildlife corridors will be implemented for roads or transportation routes around Protected Areas to ensure safe movement of wildlife and minimize human-wildlife conflicts.” Which means the Green Parties raise their voice for the animals also.

Who votes for green parties

Research shows that Green Parties get the most support in developed countries. Also in Countries with less unemployment, and in those countries which have sizable environmental issues. India is the most populated country in the world and the seventh largest in size. In India any environmental issue of humongous magnitude will look diminutive compared to the poverty, joblessness, and other issues the country has to resolve.

According to a seasoned economist, the global brands are targeting 44 crore consumers in India. The population of India is 144 crores. Which means almost 1 billion Indians are poor. According to PIB (Press Information Bureau), “The Cabinet led by the Prime Minister has decided that the Central government will provide free food grains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a period of five years with effect from 1st January, 2024.” Evidently, India has a large concentration of the poor world population that have to climb up the ladder of self-sufficiency. Considerable work is to be done for for a better and quality lifestyle for the citizens. Enough nutritious food, appropriate climate-friendly clothing, sustainable houses, quality education, and comprehensive healthcare policies are more in prority than dealing with climate change.

Voters need to make a green decision next time

The environmental issues cannot wait until every issue in this country is resolved. So a Green Party is the need of the hour. Though in small numbers, they can exert pressure on the government for implementing climate-friendly and sustainable policies. They can voice their green goals in parliament. Both the BJP and the Congress have mentioned climate-friendly and sustainable activities, but how many of them get implemented is to be seen. For the country to function with a right-wing government or a left-wing government, there needs to be a green environment. This time, the elections were almost undone by the heatwaves, what about future climate change calamities? So now it’s high time the voter must think of giving Green Candidates a chance to speak up for a green country and a greener world.

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