PM Narendra Modi is meeting leaders of political parties in Parliament to discuss ‘one-nation, one-poll’.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Top leaders from many opposition parties skipped the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss his ‘one-nation, one-poll’ idea.
BSP chief Mayawati and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal are the latest opposition party bosses to decline the invite.
Mayawati tweeted that she would have attended the all-party meeting had it been on EVMs instead, she called the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls a ploy to divert attention from issues like poverty.
“Elections in any democracy can never be a problem, nor the elections should be weighed from the point of view of expenditure and extravagance,” she said. “The ‘one nation, one election’ is in fact an attempt to divert the attention from burning national issues such as poverty, inflation, unemployment and increase in violence, and is simply an illusion.”
DMK president MK Stalin, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu are among others skipping the Wednesday meet.
Whether ‘one-country, one-poll’ initiative floated by the Prime Minister will become the first rallying point for the opposition parties will be known after the UPA constituents including the Congress take a final stance on the matter.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said on Wednesday that his party will not attend the all-party meeting called to discuss the ‘one nation, one election’ proposal. “As far as I know, our party is not attending the meeting,” he said. Congress, however, is yet to officially announce its final stand.
While the Congress may not attend, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has decided to attend the meeting reported ANI.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was the first prominent opposition leader to rule out participation in the “hurriedly” called meet. In a letter to parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi, Banerjee demanded that the Centre should prepare a white paper on “one nation, one election” instead.
The matter according to Banerjee’s letter “requires consultations with constitutional experts, election experts and above all the party members.”
TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, who is sending his son and party working president K T Rama Rao to the meeting, instead, said, “What is there to discuss there? We will only maintain constitutional relations with Centre. I still back my federal front. No use talking to Centre. Didn’t even get Rs 1 for state. I have already stated that Modi runs a fascist govt. It’s a fact on record.”
Prime Minister Modi’s initiative has support from Odisha’s ruling BJD. Party chief Naveen Patnaik has indicated that BJD backs the idea of simultaneous polls. His endorsement came during the Niti Aayog Governing Council meet held last weekend.
NDA ally AIADMK’s MLA & Tamil Nadu Minister D Jayakumar was quoted by ANI as saying, “One Nation One Election’ is an issue which needs to be discussed in detail. There are various ramifications of this decision. AIADMK will make its decision vocal in meeting in Delhi today.
PM Modi has invited the chiefs of all political parties, which have at least one member either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, for the meeting to discuss “one nation, one election”, celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year.
One nation, one election idea was first floated during the term of previous Lok Sabha but it lapsed before a consensus could be built. The NDA government considers it to be an important electoral reform to cut down on high expenses incurred in holding separate polls and also to ensure that governance is not put on hold due to model code of conduct in effect during the completion of the poll process.--HT