Congress leaders Pawan Khera and Akhilesh Pratap Singh were at the receiving end of repeated booing by the audience for opposing the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ during a discussion on the concluding day of the Youth Parliament at Karnavati University here on Sunday.
Other panelists included BJP national general secretary Anil Jain, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra, Chairman of Madhya Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Hitesh Bajpai and Managing Director of a private asset management company Nilesh Shah.
As the floor opened for discussion, Khera opposed the idea of One Nation, One Election and said it had been proposed to divert the attention of voters from local issues plaguing the states. He listed issues like unemployment, black money and terrorism and said these won’t go away with glossy slogans.
Khera said, “Modiji, your entry in the country has been through elections and your exit will also be through elections.”
At this point, however, the audience started booing the leader amid chants ‘Modi, Modi’.
Khera was forced to continue his speech amid the repeated booing.
“Why do we need elections once in 5 years across the nation? Because voting is the only weapon everyone has. Modi wants one nation, one election; one nation, one religion; one nation, one language; one nation, one food; one nation, one dress. Modi is going to make a media free, a Supreme Court free and a Constitution free India. He is scared of having an Opposition and of answering questions,” Khera said.
Akhilesh Pratap Singh of the Congress called the idea an attack on the cooperative federalism of the country.
However, he too was booed by the audience, even as he said that in a democracy everyone should have the freedom
Speaking in favor of simultaneous elections, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra cited NITI Ayog and said that if implemented the system could not only save money, but also save resources and remedy deficit of officers on election duty while also increasing the voter turnout.
“There is a rationale behind the idea of One Nation, One Election. In 2014, the total expense on elections was Rs 3,900 crore. According to an estimate of NITI Ayog, if all elections are conducted at the same time, expenses will be limited to Rs 4,500 crore. As per NITI Ayog, the flow of black money will also be curbed,” Patra said.