After a meeting of the chiefs of all political parties with representation in Parliament on Wednesday, the Narendra Modi government said it will set up a committee for giving “time-bound” suggestions on the issue of “one nation, one election”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said most parties supported the idea of holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. He said the Left parties had “difference of opinion” on how the exercise of joint elections will be held, but were not opposed to the idea. Singh said the PM would take a call on the composition of the committee.
However, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties opposed the idea of “one country, one election”. Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury said the proposal was “anti-democratic” and “anti-federal”.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Communist Party of India’s S Sudhakar Reddy and some others also pointed to the drawbacks in the proposal. Yechury said the proposal could be to allow “backdoor entry” to a presidential form of government.
Chiefs of nearly a dozen political parties did not attend the meeting. These included the chiefs of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Telugu Desam Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (Secular).
The Shiv Sena did not attend as its chief Uddhav Thackeray was in Maharashtra for his party’s foundation day celebrations. BSP chief Mayawati tweeted on Tuesday morning that she would have attended if it was on electronic voting machines (EVMs). Presidents of 21 political parties attended the meeting. Apart from Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, and BJP’s working president J P Nadda, others who attended the meeting were YSR Congress Party’s Jagan Mohan Reddy, Janata Dal (United)’s Nitish Kumar, Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patnaik, Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s working president K T Rama Rao and several others.
In a statement issued later in the day, Mayawati said the ‘one nation, one election’ was yet another hoax the BJP has perpetrated and it is to distract from the “irregularities in the EVMs (electronic voting machines).”
The PM had called the meeting of chiefs of political parties to discuss a five point agenda – ways to improve productivity of Parliament, ‘one country, one election’, building a ‘new India’ in the 75th year of independence, celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary and development of aspirational districts.