'One Nation, One Election' need of India: PM Modi

'One Nation, One Election' need of India: PM Narendra Modi

Modi has been pursuing the 'One Nation, One Election' theme ever since he became Prime Minister first in 2014

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI Photo

Making a fresh pitch for 'One Nation, One Election', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that efforts should also be made to ensure that only one voter list is used for all types of elections, be it Lok Sabha, Assembly or Panchayats.

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference in Kevadia in Gujarat via video conference, Modi said, "one nation-one election is not simply a subject of discussion. It is rather the need of India. At an interval of every few months, some big election keeps happening in some part of the country. You are aware of its impact on developmental activities. In such a scenario, there is a need for deep study and deliberation on the issue of one nation one election."

While the Prime Minister has been pursuing the 'One Nation, One Election' theme ever since he became Prime Minister first in 2014, it has also been criticised by many. Former Vice President and former Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had in 2018 strongly disapproved of the idea of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together, calling it an "assault" on Indian democracy. Later also the pitch had not found favour with a number of political parties, who skipped an all party meeting called on the issue in 2019. But despite Congress, TMC, Left parties, BSP and SP staying away from the meet, the government then decided to set up a committee to give suggestions on the proposal and its implementation.

BJP under Modi has grown in size and influence since 2014. Recent election trends have shown while BJP led by Modi at Centre easily won the Lok Sabha polls, the trends in elections for Assemblies held in the corresponding period did not now show equally strong for the BJP. However, the BJP leaders had been arguing that the pitch for one nation one election has larger national interest in mind than merely winning an election.

The Prime Minister on Thursday said, "the Presiding Officers can throw much light on this. They can lead us on this. Besides, only one voter list should be used in Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and Panchayat polls. First we have to find a way for this. Today there is a separate list for each of these. Why are we wasting our time and money? Now the voting age for each of these elections is 18 years. Earlier there was some difference in the age eligibility for each of them. Hence they happened separately. Now there is no such need."