Panel to vet feasibility of one nation, one poll

New Delhi: The notion of ‘one nation, one poll’ is off the drawing board. Taking it forward, in view of the general agreement among several political parties, the Narendra Modi-led government will set up a committee to look into the feasibility of the proposal. These suggestions will be given in a time-bound manner.

‘‘We decided... PM said a committee will be formed on 'One Nation One Poll' which will consider all aspects of this issue and provide solutions," Union Minister Rajnath Singh said after the meeting.

Singh claimed most parties which attended the meeting were amenable to the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, though the two left parties dissented and had doubts on implementation.

The implementation of the proposal requires an amendment to the constitution, which cannot be done without two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament. This is why the BJP needs to get other parties on board.

At least nine political parties, including BJP's ally Shiv Sena, skipped the meeting. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had held two meetings of the opposition leaders on Tuesday afternoon and again on Wednesday morning before Rahul wrote a letter expressing "regrets" for not attending the meeting.

Mamata Banerjee had voiced reservations from the word go; and Mayawati mo-cked the government, saying the meeting ought to have discussed EVMs. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and DMK chief MK Stalin also stayed away; so did Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal; former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandresekhar Rao sent representatives.

But there was a split in Opposition ranks, too, and many like NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah turned up at the meeting.

Congress spokesman Guarav Gogoi confirmed the letter of regrets that has gone out from Rahul's office at a press conference, asserting that the issue of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections is only a diversionary tactic.

He said PM Modi and his party are themselves not consistent and could not hold even the two Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh simultaneously; nor could they agree on holding two Rajya Sabha by-elections in Gujarat together.

Gogoi further accused PM Modi of taking a serious Constitutional issue lightly; he, with the help of the Election Commission, had opted for multiple-phase Lok Sabha elections, instead of minimal rounds, it was pointed out.

He asked the Prime Minister to have a collective debate in Parliament on electoral reforms in which all can participate, instead of debating the issue outside the Parliament forum.

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