A committee will be constituted to explore the feasibility of holding simultaneous Parliament and assembly elections, Union Minister Rajnath Singh quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as saying after the latter chaired an all-party meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.
It is not immediately clear what the composition of the committee would be.
Briefing the press after the meeting, Rajnath heads of most political parties supported the idea of “one nation, one election” and presented their views on the matter. Invitations were extended to 40 political parties, Rajnath said, out of which 21 presidents participated in the meeting. Three party presidents couldn’t come due to various reasons but sent their opinion in writing, he said.
Several Opposition parties including the Congress gave it a miss. Those that had no representation at the meeting were NDA ally Shiv Sena and Opposition parties DMK, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The Left parties, represented by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja, attended the meeting. Rajnath said the CPI(M) and CPI had a difference of opinion but “they didn’t oppose the idea, just the implementation of it”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reportedly did not attend the meeting. The Aam Aadmi Party was represented by party member Raghav Chadha. Similarly, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi was represented at the meeting by its working president K T Rama Rao, the son of party chief K Chandrashekar Rao.
BSP chief Mayawati tweeted saying she would have attended the all-party meeting if it was on electronic voting machines (EVMs).
On Tuesday, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee declined the invitation to attend the meeting and asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the “one nation, one election” issue for consultations.
The leaders present at the meeting included JDU’s Nitish Kumar, NC’s Farooq Abdullah, SAD’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, YSRCP’s Jagan Mohan Reddy.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister also discussed issues of ‘aspirational districts’, the celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022 and marking 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year, among other things. Today’s meeting will be followed by a dinner with all MPs on June 20.
with PTI inputs