Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Wednesday said that the call for ‘one nation, one election’ is “an attempt to divert the attention from burning national issues”.

The BSP chief also said that she would have attended an all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi had the discussion focussed on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which Mayawati described as “a dangerous problem”.

Alleging that the people have lost faith in EVMs, Mayawati said that the real threat to the Constitution and democracy in the country is from the impudence of the government on use of EVMs in place of ballot papers.

“Elections in any democracy can never be a problem, nor they be weighed from the point of view of expenditure and extravagance. The ‘one nation, one election’ is, in fact, an attempt to divert the attention from burning national issues such as poverty, inflation, unemployment and increase in violence, and is simply an illusion,” Mayawati said in a tweet posted in Hindi.

“The Constitution and democracy of the country faces a real threat from the government’s stubbornness on use of EVMs instead of ballot papers. The faith of the people in EVMs has deteriorated to an alarming level. If today’s meeting convened to discuss this dangerous problem then I would have certainly participated in it,” she added.

 

Mayawati’s statement came hours before the all-party meeting called by Modi in the national capital to discuss several issues, including the idea of ‘one nation, one election’, celebration of 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year and 75 years of Independence in 2022.

Heads of political parties in Parliament including JD(U)’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 and others were present at the meeting, which started in the afternoon.

The ‘one nation, one election’ was part of the Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Lok Sabha election manifesto.

Last August, the Law Commission had recommended holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies to save public money.

In its draft recommendations, the commission had said simultaneous polls, with an exception of Jammu and Kashmir, would help the government of the day focus on “developmental activities rather than electioneering”.

It, however, cautioned that holding simultaneous elections was not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution.

(With inputs from agencies.)