PM Modi to form panel to study feasibility of 'one nation, one election'

Most parties supported 'one nation, one election,' says Rajnath after all-party meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting of the heads of various political parties in both the Houses of Parliament. PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an all-party meeting on Wednesday said that a committee will be formed to look into the various issues regarding the "one nation, one election" plan.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told this to the media after the conclusion of the meeting which lasted for over three-and-a-half hours.

Singh said that five major agendas were discussed in the meeting, including the "one nation, one election" agenda.

He said that members of all the opposition parties present at the meeting supported the idea barring the CPI and CPM.

"Only CPI and CPM expressed difference of opinion, saying how it could be implemented," the defence minister said.

Over 40 parties were invited for the meeting in which only 21 party chiefs participated while three expressed their inability to join the meeting citing some reasons, Singh added.

Those who gave the meeting a skip included the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, DMK, Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The government had invited the chiefs of all parties represented in Parliament for the meeting.

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, J P Nadda and Pralhad Joshi along with other National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners attended the meeting.

Opposition parties are weary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a "trap" set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead, sources said.

While many opposition parties waited till Wednesday to take the decision on whether to attend the meeting, others party chiefs like Mamata Banerjee of TMC, M K Stalin of DMK, N Chandrababu Naidu of TDP, and TRS' K Chandrasekhar Rao already announced their decision of not attending the meeting convened by the prime minister.

Banerjee excused herself and asked the Centre to prepare a white paper on the issue, instead of doing it "hurriedly".

"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," she said in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao did not attend Wednesday's meeting.

Both Banerjee and Rao had also skipped the prime minister's swearing-in ceremony on May 30 and also the NITI Aayog meeting last week.

Telugu Desam Pary president N Chandrababu Naidu also gave the meeting a miss.

Though the DMK has not given any specific reason for not attending the meeting except that Stalin has prior commitments, the party has been vehemently opposing the idea of 'one nation one election'. Last year, Stalin had shot a letter to the Law Commission firmly opposing the simultaneous polls, stating that it goes against the "basic tenets of our constitution".

The agenda for the meeting also include celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner-meeting with all the MPs on June 20.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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