Interacting with beneficiaries of the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra (VBSY) via video conferencing, he said that elections have to be won not on social media, but by reaching out to people.
The Narendra Modi Government on Friday constituted a committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of “one nation, one election,” under which elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies can be held together.
The Government’s move triggered nationwide political reactions. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said in Jaipur that there is no need to get nervous as there will be discussions at different levels before it gets implemented.
The Minister said elections for Lok Sabha and State assemblies were conducted simultaneously till 1967.
Mr Joshi said: “Right now, a committee has been constituted. A report of the committee will come out, which will be discussed. The Parliament is mature, and discussions will take place, there is no need to get nervous…India is called the mother of democracy, there is evolution…I will discuss the agenda of the Special session of Parliament.”
In Delhi, BJP President J P Nadda met former President Ram Nath Kovind at his residence. The meeting was significant in the light of the committee constituted by the Centre under Mr Kovind’s chairmanship to explore the possibility of ‘One Nation, One Election’.
If the proposal comes into effect, elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies across India will be held simultaneously with voting taking place at the same time. The government has decided to call a Special Session of Parliament from 18-22 September where the proposal can come up for discussion.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi disclosed the report of the committee will be discussed in Parliament, asking why the Opposition is scared of it.
“There will be a discussion (on ‘One Nation, One Election’) in Parliament. Why is the Opposition scared (about it)? Democracy is about evolution; India is the mother of democracy. This is part of evolution,” Pralhad Joshi said.
“In this evolution, every new proposal that benefits the nation will be discussed. For now, a committee has been formed and they will give their suggestion and then a discussion will be held on the subject,” he said.
He said there were simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies till 1967. Now there are polls every few months and it is a huge expenditure. This must be discussed.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee, the Law Commission and Niti Aayog had earlier examined the ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal and submitted reports on the subject.
Simultaneous elections for State assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held till 1967. However, in 1968 and 1969 some legislative assemblies were dissolved prematurely followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 1970. This forced a change in electoral schedules for the states and the country.
The Opposition objected to the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said “For this, not just an amendment in the Constitution but also approval of the states is needed.”
“In BJP-ruled states like Haryana and Maharashtra, they can decide and pass a proposal in the Cabinet to dissolve their respective assemblies…You can’t just cut short the duration of a State assembly, it doesn’t work like this,” he said.
Congress MP Anand Sharma said, “In today’s perspective is it practical? Amendments will need to be made to the constitution.”
Rajya Sabha MP and UBT Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said ” “Today the country is facing farmers’ issues, rising unemployment, China’s aggression… If the special session will address all these issues, then it’s welcome. If it will be used to divert attention from these issues, then it shows that BJP is nervous. I want to ask them (central govt) as to when will a committee be formed on inflation, corruption, rising unemployment, women’s reservation…”
Rajya Sabha Congress MP Pramod Tiwari said, “I am seeing this for the first time that a former President has been made chairman of a committee formed by the government.”
Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav said, “One Nation, One Election was brought up only to distract from the INDIA meeting. Even when the last meeting (of INDIA alliance) was held, they had a separate meeting of their own. Who will be happier than us if One Nation, One Election is implemented? Will they do it in UP? If they hold UP elections along with Lok Sabha elections, what can be better than that?”
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said “It is a praiseworthy effort. I welcome this step…This will increase the participation of the people, more people will come to vote.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde welcomed the Centre’s decision saying, “One nation, one election” will save the money spent on elections and that money can be used for welfare schemes.”
Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Modi also welcomed the proposal “If the elections are held at a time, the pace of development will increase and will save the money spent on elections. The percentage of voters casting their votes will also increase. The country’s voter is aware & knows whom to vote for.”
LJP (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan said, “Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) supports ‘One Nation, One Election’. It should be implemented.”