Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet again pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’ system and a single voters list, advocating an unitary form of the election process similar to the one the government had proposed for ration cards. Speaking on Constitution Day, he said elections taking place every few months hinders development.
The prime minister was addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference in Kevadia, Gujarat, via video conference, during which he also paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008. He said, ‘One Nation, One Election’ was not “just an issue of deliberation, but also the need of the country”.
“Elections are held at different places every few months and it hampers the developmental work and all of you know it. Therefore, it is must to have deep study and deliberation on One Nation, One Election,” he said.
He also said that having a single voters list was desirable. “Only one voters list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections. Why are we wasting time and money on these lists?” he asked.
This isn’t the first time Modi has pushed for simultaneous elections. However, the proposal had earned widespread opposition from state governments headed by regional parties. Interestingly, top BJP leader and former minister Arun Jaitley too had opposed it and said the idea of simultaneous elections was “fraught with many pitfalls”, as per Indian Express.
The prime minister also emphasised the need for coordination between three wings of the state — Legislature, Executive and Judiciary — and said everything from these institutes roles to their decorum is described in the Constitution.
“In the 1970s, we saw how there was an attempt to breach the dignity of separation of power, but the country got the answer only from the Constitution. After that period of Emergency, the system of checks and balances became stronger and stronger. The Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, all three learned a lot from that period and moved forward,” the prime minister said.
National interest should form the basis of every decision, Modi said. “We must remember when politics take over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations,” he added.
He cited the example of delay in the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, saying it kept lingering and was completed after years. “This could have happened earlier if development was given precedence. Those who stalled it, have no repentance,” he said in a clear attack on the Congress.
Constitution is our guiding light to take on challenges in the 21st century, Modi said and called for raising awareness about it. “Our Constitution has many features but one very
special feature is the importance given to duties. Mahatma Gandhi was very keen about this. He saw a close link between rights and duties. He felt that once we perform our duties, rights will automatically be safeguarded,” Modi said.
He also referred to the practice of KYC (know your customer) in the corporate world and said there should be a similar KYC drive in the form of Know Your Constitution to popularise the Constitution and its different features.
(With inputs from agencies)