Millennium Post

Simultaneous polls issue needs larger debate, consensus: Congress

Extending support for electoral reforms, the Congress on Thursday said the issue of 'One Nation, One Election' or simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies needed a larger debate and a political consensus.

President Pranab Mukherjee had backed the idea on Wednesday durin his address on the eve of the 68th Republic Day of India and said: "Time is ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms and a return to the practice of the early decades after Independence when elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously."

Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said: "This issue was raised earlier too. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has been quite active on this issue, which needs a larger debate.

"It may theoretically look very easy to say something but realisitcally there may be requirements for a constitutional amendment too."

Vadakkan said all political parties must be involved and the larger question is of electoral reforms under the system.

"It is not just holding elections on a given date; what is more important is electoral reforms. How far will the Election Commission and the government of India move in this line? How much of discussion will they hold with opposition parties before taking a final call?" he said.

"India is a huge country. This issue can't be sorted out by saying that we have one election. I agree it will be viable financially but the viability become sensible only if it is feasible in real terms. It is a huge challenge for which the Election Commission and politcal parties must arrive at a consensus," the Congress leader added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pitching for a debate on the need for simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
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