BENGALURU: An assortment of speakers, including Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, spoke against the Centre’s proposal to hold elections to state assemblies and Lok Sabha simultaneously. Speaking at an event at the Town Hall here on Thursday, Jairamn, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh, compared the proposal with a German slogan coined in 1930 — “One People, One Nation, One Leader”, and said the leader in the slogan referred to Adolf Hitler. “It is a very dangerous idea and we must fight it tooth and nail,” he said.
Jairam said the proposal went against the spirit of democracy and accountability. He said elections forced the government to listen to people’s voice, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted the nation to only listen to his “Mann ki Baat” for five years. Asserting that people in India were very wise in choosing governments, he said, “Congress won 27 of 28 seats in Karnataka in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, only for people to vote Ramakrishna Hegde’s government to power three months later with over 135 seats.”
Jairam said while Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders of the time fought for unity, the RSS and BJP fought for uniformity, which India did not want and said the one-nation-one-election move opened the door for dictatorship.Political analyst Prof Sandeep Shastri, who was among the panellists, also expressed his stance against the proposal, saying it would undermine the states.
“Looking at it from a managerial point of view, yes, such a system saves time and money, but it is said only by people who do not have an investment in democracy and politics of the country,” he said. Shastri said the argument that such a system would help them focus on development was only a way to explain their incompetence. Stressing that India had a federal system of government, he gave examples to show how people voted for one party in the state and another at the Centre.
Another panellist and freedom fighter H S Doreswamy expressed anguish at Modi’s intent to have a Congress-free country, and termed it undemocratic. He also slammed parties in Karnataka for “fielding criminals in almost one-fourth of the seats.” The other panellists at the event included Rajya Sabha member K C Ramamurthy and educationist K E Radhakrishna.