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Mamata, other Oppn biggies skip Prime Minister's meeting

Mamata, other Oppn biggies skip Prime Ministers meeting

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired the all-party meet meant to discuss his initiative of "One Nation One Election" and the Niti Aayog's proposal of developing "aspirational districts". But the attendance was thin, with five parties, including the Trinamool Congress, refusing to attend. Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had voiced reservations about the modality and Mayawati mocked the government. Her former ally Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav and DMK chief MK Stalin didn't show up either. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao sent party leaders to represent them.

In a letter to Prahlad Joshi, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Banerjee on Tuesday said that the matter requires consultations with experts.

"A proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like the "One Country, one election" in such a short time would not do justice to the subject it deserves. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, elections experts and above all the party members.

"Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would request you to kindly circulate a White Paper on the subject to all political parties inviting their views by providing adequate time. If you only do so, we will be able to give concrete suggestions on this important subject," the TMC supremo wrote.

She further stated that regarding the development of aspirational districts, her party Trinamool Congress had already conveyed that they are not in support of the selection of a few districts as it would not conform to the overall objectives of achieving balanced and uniform development of all the districts of the state.

"Our state is committed to ensuring social and economic development of all districts uniformly so that regional imbalances do not rise," she said.

She also said that she and her party would participate wholeheartedly in the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year but stated that the issue regarding ways to improve the productivity of Parliament was a matter of the Lower House and should be dealt with by the concerned ministry.

Banerjee had skipped the Niti Ayog meeting also last week.

The Left parties, represented by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI's D Raja, attended the meeting but are opposed to the idea.

The government will form a committee to study the feasibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "One Nation, One Election", Union Minister Rajnath Singh said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's all-party meeting on Wednesday. Most parties, he said, had supported the idea.

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