Modi 2.0: PM’s first ‘One Nation, One Election’ push, to chair meeting of all political parties today; Mamata, KCR to skip



Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting on Wednesday to discuss the feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies in the country. The government has invited chiefs of all political parties who have representation in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Besides, invitations have also been extended to parties who have no representation in the Parliament. PM Modi will interact and exchange views with the political parties chief over the cause. The meeting to discuss the possibility of holding elections in the country comes within a month of Lok Sabha elections results. Modi had been pitching for holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies ever since he took over as the Prime Minister of India in 2014. He had been pressing for holding constructive dialogue to enable the Election Commission to hold elections simultaneously to bring down the expenses. Besides, this will also give governments more free hands and time to implement welfare schemes. Those who have strongly backed Modis call include Odishas ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and states where the BJP is in the power. Some other opposition parties including the Congress have, however, termed the suggestion as impractical. On Tuesday evening, leaders of the Congress-led UPA had met in the Parliament to discuss the issue. They decided to meet again on Wednesday to brainstorm on the issue with other like-minded parties before taking a final call on the matter. Leaders of UPA constituents, including TR Balu and Kanimozi of DMK, Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, NCP leader Supriya Sule, CPIs D Raja, NK Premchandran of RSP and PK Kunhali Kutty of IUML, attended the meeting. Both UPA chairperson Sonia and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting. When Sonia Gandhi was asked whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi will attend Wednesdays meeting convened by the Prime Minister, she replied, You will know tomorrow (Wednesday). Earlier, Rahul had evaded questions on the issue when posed to him after the meeting in Parliament. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee of TMC, DMKs MK Stalin, TDPs Chandrababu Naidu and TRS K Chandrasekhar Rao have announced that they will not be attending the meeting convened by the PM. According to a PTI report, a few opposition parties feel that the meeting might be a trap set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead. Banerjee, who is a strong critic of Modi, said that the matter needs to be discussed with the constitutional and election experts first and that the government should prepare a white paper on the issue. Alleging that the BJP was doing it hurriedly, she in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said, 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. While KCR has said that partys working president and his son KT Rama Rao will attend the meeting, TDPs Naidu has written a letter to the government to express his views.

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