Former vice-president Hamid Ansari has opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of holding elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies simultaneously to cut the expenses and make governments more efficient. In an interview with News18, Ansari termed it a “bad idea” to assert that it will strike at the roots of the federal system.
“That slogan (one nation, one election) I am afraid, it cuts the root of the federal system. If we have a federal system, it is (a bad idea),” he told the channel.
His remark comes in the backdrop of hectic parleys with stakeholders by the Law Commission in the last few months to give the PM’s idea of simultaneous elections a final shape.
When asked about PM Narendra Modi’s argument that the frequent elections put the country under the tremendous financial burden, he questioned why every state and local elections are today projected as a national one. He said that state leaders should be given chance to discuss their issues at their own level.
“Why we are spending so much money? Why does every national leader have to go to participate in state polls? Don’t states like Karnataka, Assam, Gujarat have local talent? After all, how do they produce Chief Ministers and ministers? Let them do the local agenda at the local level and let the national leaders concentrate on national issues,” he argued.
“I know instances when sessions of the Parliament have been tweaked because leaders have to go to states to take part in polls. I don’t see any logic in it. States have their own leaders,” Ansari, who remained in the office of Vice President for 10 years before vacating it last year, added.
His opposition to the Prime Minister’s proposal comes days after he said that Modi’s comment during his farewell as the outgoing Rajya Sabha Chairman was ‘a departure from accepted practice on such occasions’. In his farewell speech on August 10 last year, Modi had said in last 10 years “you had to confine yourself strictly to the Constitution. You may have been internally agitated by this, but from today, you will have the freedom to speak your mind and to think, speak and act according to your core set of beliefs.”
Ever since Modi took over as the PM of India, he had been pressing for holding constructive dialogue to enable the Election Commission to hold elections simultaneously to bring down the expenses and give the governments more free hands and time to work effectively.
Earlier this week, the Law Commission met the regional and national political parties for three days to seek their views on the matter. Barring BJP and a few others like the BJD of Naveen Patnaik, almost all parties have voiced reservations to the proposal. A total of 14 parties had participated in the meet. The Congress and Left parties were among others who skipped it.
The meetings were held following the Election Commission’s repeated claims that it is capable of holding elections simultaneously provided that legal framework and logistics are in place.