One nation, one election need of the hour: President Kovind2 min read . Updated: 21 Jun 2019, 12:11 AM IST
- President urges all parliamentarians to back the proposal to help boost development
- frequent polls have affected the pace and continuity of development programmes
Extending his support to the government’s “one nation, one poll" idea, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday asked all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members to back the proposal to help boost development.
Addressing a joint sitting of the first session of Parliament, since the Narendra Modi government returned to power, Kovind said frequent elections have affected the pace and continuity of development programmes.
“Our countrymen have demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict both at state and national issues. ‘One nation–simultaneous elections’ is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefitting our countrymen. With such a system in place, all political parties, according to their respective ideologies, will be able to better utilize their energy towards development and public welfare," said Kovind.
On Wednesday, the government decided to set up a consultative committee, which will look into simultaneous elections. Modi has been talking about the idea since his first term in office, and has often called for a nationwide debate on it. Although it is early days, an all-party meeting called by Modi to discuss the matter was skipped by the leaders of several opposition parties.
“I urge all members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development-oriented proposal of ‘one nation, simultaneous elections’," Kovind said in the speech.
The President said he believed that the Union government, political parties, states and the people of the country were all committed to India’s integrated and accelerated development. “Our vibrant democracy has also matured adequately. During the last few decades, due to frequent elections being held in some part of the country or the other, the pace and continuity of development programmes have been impacted," he added.
Nevertheless, the problem for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is that out of the 40 political parties that were invited for the meeting on Wednesday, only 21 took part in the consultation process.
Among top leaders who gave the meeting a miss were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M.K. Stalin, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Some of the non-NDA political parties, which sent representatives for the meeting were N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The Left parties and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) attended the meeting, but are opposed to the idea. YSR Congress Party and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) have supported the idea.
Political analysts said that opposition parties have not been able to convey to the people their opposition to the idea of ‘one nation, one poll’ and there should be a nationwide debate to discuss the pros and cons of the issue.
“The speech of the President to the joint sitting of Parliament is the policy formulation of the government. It is the word of the government, but opposition parties have not been able to explain to the people why they are opposed to the idea. India experienced simultaneous elections from 1951 to 1967. The idea seems favourable from the perception of administration and governance, as it will allow the government to focus on policy decisions rather an elections. There is a need to discuss the issue nationally to look for answers of the questions being raised by some of the political parties," said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst and political science professor at Christ Church College.