Speakers, MLAs differ on one nation, one poll concept

SHIMLA: Even as a raging debate on “One Nation-One Election” is being held at the national level, there was skepticism among participants, including Vidhan Sabha Speakers and MLAs, from six states at the regional conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association India held here on Saturday.

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 22

Even as a raging debate on “One Nation-One Election” is being held at the national level, there was skepticism among participants, including Vidhan Sabha Speakers and MLAs, from six states at the regional conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association India held here on Saturday.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the conference in the Council Chamber of the Vidhan Sabha, with participants from Haryana, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal.

Throwing open the debate on conducting simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Mahajan said it was an issue which might not happen in the near future, but deliberations could be held to weigh the pros and cons of the system. The participants seemed to be clearly divided on the issue of supporting or opposing the “One Nation- One Election” theory.

While Speakers of the BJP-ruled states like Haryana and Gujarat supported the idea, Congress participants from Haryana, Himachal and PDP MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir opposed it, expressing serious reservations.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur advocated the concept, saying the nation had a strong leadership in Narendra Modi, who could implement “One Nation-One Election” concept. He said this would save time and money, which could be used on welfare schemes. Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh expressed his apprehension on the success of the proposal. “As far as holding of simultaneous elections is concerned, we agree to disagree as there are far too many practical problems and it should be done only with the consensus of all,” he said.

The issue must address not just the national aspirations, but also the regional needs.

Similarly, Leader of the Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri opposed the idea while citing constitutional provision that the term of an Assembly could neither be increased nor decreased.

Speakers of the Haryana and Gujarat Vidhan Sabhas Kanwar Pal and Rajendra Suryaprasad Trivedi supported the idea.

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