New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will set up a committee to examine the suggestion on the proposal of ‘One Nation, One Election‘, which occupied a place of significance in the all-party meet held at the Parliament on Wednesday.

A meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held to discuss several issues, and prominently ‘one nation, one election’ for which eight key opposition parties opted out of.

Besides the BJP, those who attended the meeting included Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar, BJD President Naveen Patnaik, YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, CPI’s D. Raja and S. Sudhakar Reddy, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechuri, TRS President K.T. Rama Rao, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti.

Those who gave the meeting a skip included the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, DMK, Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The Prime Minister called the meeting to discuss his initiative of holding simultaneous elections across the country and the Niti Aayog’s proposal to fast-track the socio-economic conditions of 117 districts across 28 states.

The government had invited the chiefs of all parties represented in Parliament for the meeting.

Speaking to the media after the meeting concluded, Defence minister Rajanth Singh remarked, “Most parties gave their support to ‘One Nation, One Election‘, CPI(M) and CPI had a difference of opinion but they didn’t oppose the idea, just the implementation of it.”

He added, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address, said that a committee will be constituted to give its suggestions on the subject (One Nation, One Election) in a time-bound manner.”

One of the affirmative voices came from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik, who on Wednesday said, “Our party is supporting the idea of One Nation, One Election.”

On the other hand, in a sharp difference of opinion over holding simultaneous elections, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) members at the all-party meet said that the concept is “anti-federal and anti-democratic”.

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of CPI(M) said that the concept of ‘One Nation, One Election’ is “fundamentally anti-federal and anti-democratic and strikes at the root of the parliamentary democratic system, as ordained in the Constitution.” He added that there are also technical issues involved in the process of conducting simultaneous elections to the Parliament and state Assemblies.

Moreover, he termed NITI Aayog’s proposal to implement the President’s Rule if the Lok Sabha is dissolved as “outrageous” and said that it “will make the President the head of the executive”. He added, “This is bringing an executive Presidency through the back door.”

ANTITHESIS?

Contrary to the stand of his party, Congress leader Milind Deora claimed that the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ calls for an open-minded debate and said it should be given consideration while criticising the political class for forgetting the art of debate, discussion, and engagement. In a statement about his “personal views” on ‘One Nation, One Election’ released on Twitter, the Congress Mumbai unit President also said the Narendra Modi government’s proposal to hold simultaneous polls is “worthy of a debate”.

Deora also said that he is yet to see evidence which suggests that if Assembly elections is held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections, it will help the party that is in power nationally, citing the results of the Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

With inputs from IANS