"Not A Matter Of Debate": PM Makes Another Pitch For Simultaneous Polls

PM Narendra Modi said "Elections are held at different places every few months. The effect it has on development work is known to all"

PM Narendra Modi said when politics takes over nation-first policies, the nation has to pay.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi again pitched for the "One Nation One Election" idea today, saying it is not a matter of debate but what the country needs. He also suggested that the Election Commission prepare a single voters' list for Lok Sabha, assembly and panchayat polls, saying separate lists are a "waste of resources".

"One nation, one election isn't just a matter of debate, this is the need for India. Elections are held at different places every few months. The effect it has on development work is known to all. This issue needs to be studied and presiding officers can be guiding force for it," he said in a virtual address at the 80th All-India Presiding Officers Conference.

"We must remember that when politics takes over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations," he said.

The Prime Minister's fresh pitch for simultaneous elections comes weeks after the assembly polls in Bihar, which was the last one this year. Elections in Bengal and Tamil Nadu -- crucial for the BJP -- are due next year.

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Several earlier pitches for "One Nation One Election" have fallen through after the opposition refused to back the idea, contending that it was anti-democratic, against the Constitution and impractical. The CPM has alleged that the government is trying to replace parliamentary democracy by slipping in a Presidential form of government "through the back-door".

Creating a consensus on the issue is important for the government, since implementing the "One Nation One Election" idea requires an amendment of the Constitution.

But a constitutional amendment, however, cannot be done without two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament, which the government does not have at the moment.