Meeting on ‘One Nation One Poll’ begins; eight oppn leaders stay away

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chairs a meeting of the heads of various political parties in both the houses of Parliament, on June 19. PTI photo

The all-party meeting to discuss the ‘One Nation, One Poll’ idea, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has begun at the Parliament House Annexe in New Delhi.

While the left parties have registered their opposition to the idea, others including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, MK Stalin of the DMK, AAP president Arvind Kejiriwal, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and NCP’s Sharad Pawar are likely to give the meeting a miss.

The idea was first mentioned in the BJP’s 2014 manifesto.

Even as the BJP asserts that scattered polling digs a hole in the pockets of the central exchequer apart from diverting attention from issues of governance,  the idea of a single poll for the country, has been opposed by several former election commissioners who have dismissed it as impractical. They are of the view that the move would require a constitutional amendment besides more administrative arrangements and a larger number of paramilitary forces to manage simultaneous polls.

The country’s first four elections – 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 – were held simultaneously before the premature dissolution of the fourth Lok Sabha.

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