Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched hard for his plan for One Nation, One Election and told a conference here on Thursday that it is not just a matter of debate, but a requirement for India. He also spoke for a common voter list for all elections to prevent waste of resources.
Virtually addressing legislative presiding officers from all across India here on Thursday, PM Modi maintained that simultaneous elections at every level —Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabhas or local panchayats—should be held together using a common voter list.
“Every few months, we see an election in some part of the country. You all know what the impact of these polls is on the development works. There is a need for a deeper study and discussion on the issue and I suggest presiding officers may lead such discussions,” Modi said.
One Nation, One Election has been a key electoral reform pushed by the NDA government but has met stiff opposition from rival parties. Last year, the Congress skipped a meeting called by the PM on the issue and the Left parties dubbed the move as “backdoor way of replacing our parliamentary democracy”.
Describing the presiding officers as the bridge between public and the Constitution, Modi hit out indirectly at the Congress for imposing the Emergency. The PM said an attempt was made to dilute the separation of power of the three wings of the state in the 1970s but the Constitution provided the solution. “After the Emergency, the system of checks and balances kept getting stronger as legislature, executive and judiciary moved ahead, learning from the episode,” he said.
Celebrating the Constitution Day, the PM said the Constitution also helped India face the challenged of Covid-19 as several laws could be enacted to help people. He praised Parliamentarians too for taking a pay cut and working more to increase the output of Parliament.
The Prime Minister cautioned against the tendency of keeping projects pending. He gave the example of Sardar Sarovar Project which was stuck for years and kept the people of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan from the massive benefits which were accrued when the dam was finally constructed.