NEW DELHI: At an all-party meet on Wednesday on simultaneous elections that a section of the opposition chose to skip, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a committee would be constituted to examine the issue in-depth in a time-bound manner.
Since the no-shows came from major parties like the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, BSP, SP, AAP and TDP, the exercise to build a broad political consensus on the tricky issue of holding Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections together suffered a tad.]
Shiv Sena, an NDA ally, too opted out. The AIADMK, another NDA ally, had deputed party leader C Ve Shanmugam, but since the meeting was open only to heads of political parties, he had to stay away.
Briefing reporters, defence minister Rajnath Singh said political parties attending the meeting broadly supported the idea of ‘one nation, one election’, while some parties like the Left flagged issues concerning its implementation. However, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury termed it an attempt to push the presidential form of the government and called it anti-federal.
“We invited presidents of 40 political parties out of which 21 attended. Three parties sent their written submissions since their chiefs couldn’t come,” Rajnath informed.
BSP chief Mayawati termed the meeting a diversionary tactic. “In any democratic country, holding elections cannot be a problem. It’s wrong to think of money matters when it comes to elections. The issue of simultaneous elections is being highlighted only to divert attention from other burning issues such as poverty, unemployment, increasing violence,” she said in a statement.
Modi had for the first time harped on the idea of one nation, one election in his speech at a Diwali Milan at the BJP headquarters in 2017.
The BJP working president J P Nadda, JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar, YSR Congress’ Jagan Mohan Reddy, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, NC patriarch
Farooq Abdullah and LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan were among the leaders who attended. From the BJP, Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Narendra Singh Tomar participated.
Lesser spending by governments, political parties in simultaneous polls
Lawmakers get more time for development work
Frees up security forces for deployment in their core areas
Local issues will take a backseat
Lesser participation of regional parties, so the contest could become presidential
Restriction on democratic rights as people get a chance to punish parties only after five years