Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited the heads of all political parties, who have a lawmaker either in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, for a meeting on Wednesday to discuss several issues including the 'One Nation, One Election' idea. The talks will also be held on the celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year. This will be followed by a dinner meeting with all MPs on June 20.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, which are opposed to holding of simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies, will take a call in the morning whether to attend the meeting. Leaders of UPA constituents, who met in Parliament on Tuesday evening, discussed the issue and decided that they would hold further discussions with other like-minded parties before taking a final call on the matter.
While many opposition parties are yet to decide on whether to attend the meeting, some party chief like Trinamool Congress' Mamata Banerjee, DMK's M K Stalin and TRS' K Chandrasekhar Rao have already announced their decision of not attending the meeting. Banerjee excused herself and asked the Centre to prepare a white paper on the issue, instead of doing it "hurriedly".
"A proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like 'one country, one election' in such a short time would not do justice to the subject. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, election experts and above all, the party members," she said in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi.
"Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would like to 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 letter further read.
Moreover, talking about the Aspirational Districts Programme, Banerjee said, "We have recently conveyed our views to NITI Aayog during its meeting, stating that we are not in support of selection of a few districts as Aspirational Districts as it would not conform to the overall objectives of achieving balanced and uniform development of all the districts of the State."The letter also said that the party will "whole-heartedly participate in the most befitting manner" in the celebration of 75 years of India`s Independence and 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
TRS President and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao will not attend the meeting. K T Rama Rao, Working President of the party and son of the Chief Minister, would represent the TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) in the meeting. On Wednesday, he is slated to preside over the party state executive meeting in Hyderabad.
Shiv Sena chief will also not be able to attend the all-party meet owing to prior engagements. The party is celebrating its 53rd Foundation Day on Wednesday. Thackeray is scheduled to meet several party leaders throughout the day, and later address a meet at Shanmukhananda hall in the evening.