New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday turned down Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to an all-party meeting scheduled for Wednesday. In a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, who formally invited her to the meeting, the TMC supremo stated that response on sensitive topics like ‘One Nation One Election’ in such a short time won’t do justice to it.
Banerjee further demanded a white paper be circulated among all political parties seeking their views on the simultaneous polls by proving them ‘adequate time’.
“A proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like “one country, one election” in such a short time would not do justice to the subject. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, election experts and above all, the party members. Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would request you to kindly circulate a white paper on the subject to all political parties, inviting their views by providing adequate time. If you only do so, we will be able to give concrete suggestions on this important subject,” Banerjee wrote in the letter.
The TMC chief further stated that regarding the development of aspirational districts, her party had already conveyed that they were not in favour of the selection of a few districts as it would not conform to the overall objective of achieving a balanced and uniform development of all the districts of the state. “Our state is committed to ensuring social and economic development of all districts uniformly so that regional imbalances do not rise,” she said.
Notably, PM Modi on Sunday had invited the heads of all the political parties that have at least one member either in the Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha for a meeting on June 19 to discuss several issues, including the simultaneous elections idea, celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year.
Banerjee also said she and her party would wholeheartedly participate in the celebrations of 75 years of Independence and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, but added that as regards the ways to improve the productivity of Parliament, the parliamentary ministry might consult the matter with all the political parties. “Whatever is decided by all the parties, we will agree,” she wrote in the letter.
This is not the first time, Banerjee had boycotted a meeting called by PM Modi. Earlier on June 15, she had skipped a NITI Aayog meeting. “Given the fact that the Niti Ayog has no financial powers and the power to support State Plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers,” Banerjee had said in the letter addressed to PM Modi.
She had also skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister citing ‘untrue” claims by BJP that 54 of the party workers were murdered in political violence in Bengal.