- PM Modi's "One Nation, One Poll" idea deserves debate: Milind Deora
- The Congress skipped PM Modi's meeting with party chiefs on the topic
- Mr Deora said that his statement was his "personal views"
Senior Congress leader Milind Deora today appeared to diverge from the party view to say Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "One Nation, One Poll" initiative is "worthy of a debate".
"Continuous election mode is a roadblock to good governance, distracts politicians from addressing real issues and adds populism to the character of governance which is not necessarily a long-term solution to some of the gravest problems Indians face," he said in a statement he tweeted on a day the Congress skipped PM Modi's all-party meeting to discuss the issue. He, however, said it was his "personal views".
The Congress has earlier expressed its reservations about the meeting, contending that it would be against the country's federal structure and will be complicated to implement in view of the necessary constitutional amendment. Such an amendment can be carried out only with two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and getting enough parties on board is likely to be a challenge, the party has contended.
Mr Deora agreed with leaders like Mamata Banerjee, who said the idea needs to be thoroughly examined by constitutional experts and others.
But he also added: "In India, bold ideas rarely get bipartisan support... I am confident that friends in the opposition will show pragmatism, objectivity and far-sightedness when dealing with this issue."
He said it was unfortunate that India's political class is "fast forgetting the art of debate, discussion and engagement", which he added, "is a grave threat to India's democratic nature".
Today, opposition leaders Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and DMK chief MK Stalin have given the meeting a miss. More than 40 parties were invited for the meeting, of which 21 party chiefs participated. Mamata Banerjee had expressed her reservations, Mayawati said she could have attended had the meeting been about Electronic Voting Machines or EVMS.
Mr Deora also dismissed some opposition leaders' reservation that simultaneous elections at the states and the centre will help the political party in power at the Centre. He said he was yet to see any "evidence" of it.
"Only recently, along with the Lok Sabha elections, the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh elected members to their respective Vidhan Sabhas. Two out of the three states elected parties that are not even in an alliance with the BJP," Mr Deora pointed out.
After today's meeting, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said most of the parties which attended expressed support for the "One Nation, One Poll" idea.
"Only CPI and CPI-M expressed difference of opinion, saying how it could be implemented," the minister said. The Prime Minster, he added, will form a committee to examine the feasibility of the idea".