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‘Bold ideas rarely get bipartisan support’: Congress’ Milind Deora backs PM Modi’s ‘One Nation One Poll’ concept, calls for a debate

Pointing out that in the past years India has seen partisan politics, Deora urged the opposition to show pragmatism, objectivity and far-sightedness in dealing with this issue.

The BJP government will be forming a committee to study the feasibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “One Nation, One Election”, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-party meeting on Wednesday. Though Congress chose to skip the all-party meeting chaired by Modi to discuss the issue, Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora appears to disagree with his party’s view. The Congress leader appeared to be supporting the idea of holding simultaneous polls in the country and called for a debate on the issue.

According to a statement released by Milind Deora, he believes that “being in a continuous election mode is a roadblock to good governance and distracts politicians from addressing real issues.

Terming ‘one nation, one election’ an “important and valuable reform”, Deora says that the government take such an important decision by taking all parties on board and seeking opinions of the intelligentsia, organisations working on electoral reforms and students.

PM Mod has on several occasion reiterated the ‘one Nation-one poll’ concept referring it as a solution to bring harmony and unite castes and religious diversifications. “In India, elections take place almost every six months, hence I say that we should have Lok Sabha and state elections at the very same time. One election in every five years, isn’t this what should happen? Shouldn’t the expenditure be cut or not?,” he said in his Agra rally in January.

Meanwhile, pointing out that in the past years India has seen partisan politics, Deora urged the opposition to show pragmatism, objectivity and far-sightedness in dealing with this issue.

It is unfortunate that India’s political class, which I am a part of, is fast forgetting the art of debate, discussion and engagement. This, in my opinion, is a grave threat to India’s democratic nature,” Deora said in his statement.

Indirectly slamming the opposition, Deora said that in India bold ideas rarely get bipartisan support.

The Congress leader said he is yet to come across evidence, which suggests that if elections to the state assemblies are held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, it will help the party that is in power nationally. He went on to appreciate the voters of the country saying that they are well aware informed and can differentiate between state and central elections.

“Our democracy is neither fragile nor immature and the debate of one nation – one poll calls for an open mind on either side of the spectrum, Deora said.

The Congress leader backing the concept said that we must not forget that until 1967, India conducted simultaneous elections. He, however, urged that the scepticism of political parties should not be ridiculed, instead, the government must continue to attempt to build consensus.

Deora, however, rubbished the argument about elections straining our exchequer, saying that we should be ready to keep our democracy thriving at any cost.

Meanwhile, according to Union Minister Rajnath Singh, mostly all the parties which attended the all-party meeting convened by BJP to primarily discuss the ‘One Nation One Poll’ concept, supported the idea, however, the Left parties dissented and had questions about implementation.

Five key parties, including the Congress, skipped the meet. Mamata Banerjee expressed reservations about the modality of such a project and Mayawati mocked the government. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and DMK chief MK Stalin also stayed away. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao sent representatives.

Besides the simultaneous election, the meeting also discussed NITI Aayog’s proposal of developing “aspirational districts”, that involves fast-tracking a rise in the socio-economic condition of 117 districts across 28 states. Plans for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year and 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022 were also discussed.

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