The Congress and Communist Party of India are likely to give a miss to the Law Commission’s three-day meeting called here to discuss the feasibility of holding elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies simultaneously. Reports say that the two parties have not responded to the Law Commission’s invitation and are unlikely to attend it.
The Commission had last month reached out to all recognised national and regional parties seeking their views on the issue and invited them for one-to-one meeting in Delhi on July 7, 8 and 11. Reports say that representatives from only 14 parties will be attending the meet. The parties that have confirmed participation include Samajwadi Party, DMK, Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK, RLD and Shiromani Akali Dal. The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) from Assam and two new Muslim political parties will also meet the Commission.
The Congress and CPI are yet to respond to the Commission. However, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury has replied to the Commission stating that the proposal of ‘one nation, one poll will be a casualty on federalism’. He said that the proposal is an effort to ‘trample upon the existing Constitutional scheme of parliamentary democracy’.
Reports suggest that the Law Commission has allotted separate time schedule to all parties with the BJP urging it to offer its views later. A law panel member said that the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee will be the first one to meet the Commission on Saturday. The AIADMK of Tamil Nadu will meet on Sunday and BJD on Tuesday.
Interestingly, the AIADMK which had initially voiced its support to the proposal has now said that it is not okay to an idea of holding simultaneous elections as it may ‘affect the tenure’ of the state government. Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami and his Deputy O Pannerselvan have stated that the present Assembly should be allowed to complete its tenure which expires in 2021.
Mamata Banerjee’s TMC who has been pushing of bringing all the opposition parties together to take on the BJP in 2019 polls, has argued that the proposal was brought just ahead of the general election to divert attention from the failures of the Modi government and that it “was not needed”.
The TDP of Chandrababu Naidu, which broke away from the NDA just recently, has also opposed to the idea mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Goa Forward Party (GFP), an ally of the ruling BJP in the coastal state, has also opposed the proposal to hold Parliament and state Assembly polls simultaneously calling it was ‘against the spirit of federalism’.
The Biju Janata Dal of Naveen Patnaik has, however, favoured the proposal saying it will save money, time and make governments more efficient.