Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati today refused to attend the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the "One Nation One Election" Initiative. "In the world's largest democracy, it's unconstitutional and undemocratic to think of "One Nation, One Election'," she said in a statement. Had the discussion been on the subject of Electronic Voting Machines, she would have attended, added the leader, who has attributed the BJP's huge victory in Uttar Pradesh to "manipulation" of EVMs.
The issue of simultaneous elections was raised soon after the BJP came to power in 2014. The government contended that it would save both money and time. The Election Commission put a ceiling of Rs 70 lakh for the campaign of each candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. In larger states too, the ceiling remains the same, shrinking only in smaller states like Goa and Sikkim.
The government contends that with simultaneous elections it would be possible on save on the expenses and the excess funds can be spent on welfare measures.
Mayawati contended that the discussion on "One Nation, One Election" is the BJP's new ploy to divert people's attention from "how EVMS are being manipulated in an organised manner to hijack country's democracy".
In a tweet, she said: "In any democratic country, holding elections cannot be a problem. It's wrong to think of money matters when it comes to elections. The "one election, one nation" issue is being highlighted only to divert attention from burning issues such as poverty, unemployment, increasing violence".
The BJP, her party statement read, "should distance itself from mindset and institutions that can help their motives of harming country's democracy and constitution".
Mayawati -- whose party was practically wiped out in the state in the 2017 assembly elections - winning only 19 of the state's 403 seats - found its hopes crashing even in the recently concluded national elections.
Her alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party failed spectacularly with the BJP winning 62 of the state's 80 seats. The alliance won only 15 seats, leading the BJP to claim that the voters have rejected the politics of caste practiced by the opposition parties.
After both elections, Mayawati, who had huge support base among the Scheduled Castes, claimed tampered EVMs have helped the BJP win.
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