Following the meeting of various political parties on the issue of One Nation, One Election’, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Prime Minister Modi, in his speech during the meeting, recommended the formation of a committee to give its suggestions on the subject in a time-bound manner.
Modi had invited the heads of all political parties for the meeting held in the capital on Wednesday, 19 June, to discuss several issues, including the "one nation, one election" idea as a celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year.
After the meeting Rajnath Singh also said that most parties were on board with the idea. “Most parties gave their support to One Nation, One Election, CPI(M) & CPI had a difference of opinion but they didn't oppose the idea, just the implementation of it,” he said.
However, several Opposition leaders are not attending the meeting which marks Modi’s fresh bid for simultaneous polls across the country.
The Congress, meanwhile, held a meeting on Tuesday, 18 June, to decide the strategy to be adopted by the party during the meeting called by PM Modi.
Senior Congress leaders AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, K Suresh, and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among those present at the meeting held at Sonia's residence at 10, Janpath.
Following the meeting, PM Modi tweeted about the meeting.
Who Didn’t Attend
As PM Modi is set to make his simultaneous polls bid, the Opposition attendance still remains ambiguous. Following are the leaders who chose to skip the meet:
- Rahul Gandhi (Congress)
- Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress)
- MK Stalin (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)
- Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party)
- Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party)
- Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party)
- Kumar Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana Rashtra Samithi)
- Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena)
- Chandrababu Naidu (TDP)
- Tejashwi Yadav (RJD)
Raghav Chadha will attend the meeting on behalf of AAP, while KCR’s son and working president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will represent TRS.
GFP, YSRCP, BJD Pledge Support
The Goa Forward Party, an ally of the BJP, which has been opposing the latter's ‘one nation, one election’ demand, on Tuesday, 18 June, made a U-turn and said that it supported Prime Minister Modi's poll initiative.
In July last year, the GFP had opposed the initiative and said it was “against federalism”.
Speaking on behalf of YSRCP, party leader Vijaysai Reddy also pledged support for the initiative. Later in the evening, Odisha CM and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik also said that his party will support the idea.
The draft on the decision, submitted to the Law Ministry, however, had cautioned that "holding simultaneous elections is not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution."
The Centre has been toying with the idea for quite some time now. The government think-tank, NITI Aayog, had last year suggested synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly polls from 2024 to ensure minimum campaign-mode disruption to governance.
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar wrote to Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, that the proposal called for a national debate.
“For One Country One Vote, we have to make constitutional amendment and therefore, our party proposes national debate on this question,” the NCP leader said.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)