Kolkata: Ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal has opposed the idea of ‘One Nation, One Poll’ that has been significantly advocated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
Speaking to News18, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and lawmaker Kalyan Banerjee said, “The basic structure of the Constitution cannot be changed and therefore it is impractical. Our party strongly opposes this proposal.”
He added, “Suppose in 2019, if the Centre and states hold simultaneous elections, then what will happen if the Centre loses its majority (in case of a coalition government)? Same goes with the states as well. In that case, we have to re-conduct the polls for all states as well for the Centre”.
He said that the huge expenses it would involve makes the proposal practically imposibble.
On Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik extending support to PM’s ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal, Banerjee, said, “It is his lookout. I don’t want to comment on it but the same thing can also happen to Odisha. If they fail to form a government, then again elections will be conducted.”
He added that the basic structure of the Constitution had to be protected.
He said, “Let them start with Uttar Pradesh. They can hold the UP Assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections together. Then we will see. Not only UP, wherever BJP is in power, let there will be re-polling along with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. One thing we have to understand that those who wrote the Constitution, including BR Ambedkar, were geniuses. They were pundits and had given us a federal structure.”
Apart from the PM’s proposed simultaneous elections, the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) proposal to hold both Lok Sabha and state elections together has also triggered a debate on the possible misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution or the ‘President's Rule’ – in case states fail to function.
While some welcomed the move with few amendments in Article 356, some leaders have vehemently opposed the decision by terming it as BJP’s ploy to weaken the democratic structure of India.
CPI (M) legislator Sujan Chakraborty said on Saturday, “On June 4, our party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury ji replied to the Law Commission of India's letter seeking the opinion of the party on the issue of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. We completely opposed it.”
Yechury, in a letter to the Law Commission, decried the proposal stating that it went beyond the ambit of a law reform and would entail major amendments to the Indian Constitution.
“The argument against enforcing simultaneous elections for Parliament and the state legislatures is not only technical in nature, or, that it is impractical. The basic objection to the concept is that it is fundamentally anti-democratic and strikes at the root of the parliamentary democratic system as ordained in the Constitution,” the letter read.
Echoing his observations, AICC secretary Mainul Haque said, “In terms of Bengal, we don’t support this. Why will we go for simultaneous polls when in Bengal the next election is scheduled in 2021?”
He termed the Centre’s proposal “totally unplanned” and “poorly thought.”
However, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav welcomed PM Modi’s proposal for holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies