BJP MP from Karnataka, Shobha Karandlaje, who has been appointed as the ‘Official Parliamentary Observer’ for the UK general elections on June 8, is both overjoyed and nervous at the same time. This is her first such assignment on a foreign soil.

“I am completely clueless about the nature of my assignment. Fortunately, we will be trained before being put on duty. Also, I don’t know much about the UK Parliamentary election process - I only know the basics, which I have studied in the textbooks,” she told Asianet Newsable on Thursday.

Karandlaje, who is an MP from Udupi-Chikkamagalur, said that this assignment was however a good opportunity for her to gain an insight into the UK Parliamentary system. “I was quite surprised when I received the letter asking me if I were up for the assignment. I even reached out to the Embassy asking them what this entailed. All I have gathered is that I will be a neutral observer,” she added.

One more Indian MP, Baijayant Jay Panda from Odisha, will be joining Karandlaje in London. Panda is a Biju Janata Dal leader. The duo were nominated to the UK Election Assessment Mission to act as the Observers by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, recently.   

India is sending its Parliamentarians following a request by the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). Earlier too India had sent its members to act as observers in UK elections.Observers will be expected to undergo a two day training programme before being deployed on election duty. The UK CPA has sought for only those members who are physically fit and willing to work for long hours on the election day. 

The CPA is an international community/organisation with over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights. Whenever national level elections are held, the CPA requests its member countries, which includes India, to send its representatives as election observers to ensure a free and fair polling process.

The UK general elections were supposed to be held on May 7, 2020 as per the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 of the United Kingdom. As per the Act, elections were to be held once in five years, beginning 2015.
However, the elections are being held owing to a call for snap elections from Prime Minister Theresa May, which earned a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons, last month.