Highlights

  • Bengal CM slams 'top-down approach'
  • Mamata questions composition of Kovind-led panel
  • Mamata: idea not feasible in federal structure

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Mamata Banerjee writes to panel against 'One Nation, One Election'

Mamata wrote that different states have different electoral calendars and that simultaneous polls would require either an extension or the cutting short of state governments' tenures, which would amount to "violation of the electoral trust of the people."

Mamata Banerjee writes to panel against 'One Nation, One Election'

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to the high-level committee on simultaneous elections saying, "I regret I cannot agree with the concept of One Nation, One Election". She said the idea is not feasible considering India's federal structure.

Banerjee also criticized the committee's notice that called for suggestions for implementation of the idea, as it seemed to convey "some sort of a unilateral top-down 'decision' already taken by the Central Government to impose a structure that is certainly against the spirit of a truly democratic and federal one laid down by the esteemed Constitution of India."

"From the tenor of your letter, it appears that you view the proposed amendments to the Constitution as a mere formality that is to be got over with, along with other 'minor matters like preparation of common electoral rolls. Instead of consulting State Governments, that are, indeed, the very pillars of our federal Constitution, your letter brusquely informs us (as a political party) that the High-Level Committee is in agreement with the much-touted advantages of simultaneous all-India polls," she added.

"We object to the most unrepresentative composition of this Committee and point out that no Chief Ministers are taken on board for fear of receiving practical objections. From the tenor of your correspondence and manner in which you accept half-baked assumptions as given facts, we doubt if the HLC is seriously interested in analyzing the demerits of the case," she said.

She pointed out that different states have different electoral calendars and that simultaneous polls would require either an extension or the cutting short of state governments' tenures, which would amount to "violation of the electoral trust of the people."

Hours after sending the letter to Dr Niten Chandra, secretary of the high-level committee, Banerjee requested the Election Commission of India to look into the matter.

"I do not appreciate it in a practical sense because it is not possible, not acceptable, and not correct from the federal structure point of view. I will request the ECI to see it very sincerely, they have to be very very rational in this case particularly," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

The high-level committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind had written to political parties seeking their opinion on the matter.

The committee has held two meetings since it was constituted in September last year. It has sought views from the public on the issue and has also written to political parties seeking their views and interaction on a "mutually agreed date" on the idea of simultaneous polls.

With inputs from PTI.


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