Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies got a boost with some government agencies joining hands with a BJP think tank to organise a two-day seminar on the topic.
The seminar will be held on the premises of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) in Mumbai starting January 20.
The RMP, a BJP think tank, has joined hands with the Indian Council of Social Sciences and Research (ICSSR) to organise the event.
"Prime minister has repeatedly said there should be simultaneous elections. Former president (Pranab Mukherjee) also said that the issue should be debated for a wider consensus. We are organising the seminar to shape up public opinion in favour of the idea of 'one nation, one election'," vice president of the RMP, Vinay Sahasrabudhe, said at a press conference.
Sahasrabudhe is also the president of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and a BJP Rajya Sabha MP.
All political parties, including the Congress, have been invited to attend the seminar, he said.
Sahasrabudhe termed the idea of 'one nation, one election' the "mother of all election reforms", which he said needs to be brought in to free the nation from having to conduct election after election that lasts throughout the year.
Simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies will not only save "thousands of crores of rupees" that goes into conducting the polls but also enhance the pace of development, he said.
Most political parties have earlier expressed their support to the idea of simultaneous polls "in theory", he said, adding, "some of them, however, have doubted its feasibility. The seminar will extensively discuss all the issues to find a way out".
Janada Dal (United) leader K C Tyagi and Biju Janata Dal's Baijayant Panda are among those who have confirmed their participation. Shiv Sena has also confirmed its participation, Sahasrabudhe said.
"We have invited all parties, including the Congress, for the event. They should rise above partisan politics and join us to brainstorm on the topic," Sahasrabudhe said.
While Niti Aayog vice chairperson Rajiv Kumar will inaugurate the seminar, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will attend the event on January 21, he said.