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Discussion on simultaneous polls a healthy sign for democracy: PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat had recently said there are no chances of holding the simultaneous polls without a legal framework.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2018 15:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,PM Modi,Lok Sabha elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an all party condolence meeting organised for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday termed the debate on simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls a healthy sign for democracy and an appropriate tribute to late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had changed India’s political culture.

“The government and the opposition – both are putting forth their view points. This is a good development and a healthy sign for our democracy. I must say that developing healthy traditions for a sound democracy, making constant efforts to strengthen democracy, encouraging open-minded debates would also be an appropriate tribute to Atalji,” Modi said in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its National Democratic Alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal, as well as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Samajwadi Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti are supporting the proposal, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the Janata Dal (Secular) have opposed it.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat had recently said there are no chances of holding the simultaneous polls without a legal framework, and also that the poll panel would need nearly 24 lakh EVMs, double the number required to hold only the Parliamentary polls for the simultaneous elections to the state assemblies.

Modi also paid tributes to Vajpayee for bringing good governance into the mainstream.

“But, I just want to touch upon one more facet of Atalji’s legendary personality and that is the political culture which Atalji gave to India, his efforts in the direction of bringing about the changes in our political culture, his efforts to mould it into an organised framework and which proved very beneficial for India and a bigger benefit will accrue in days to come,” he said.

The prime minister particularly cited the 91st constitutional amendment law brought in 2003, which restricted the size of cabinets in states to 15 per cent of the total seats in its assembly.

“For many years in India, the political culture of forming a very large cabinet was being misused to constitute jumbo cabinets not only to create a divide, but also to appease political leaders. Atalji changed it. This effort of his resulted in saving of money as well as of resources. This also helped in improving efficiency,” Modi said.

He said the constitutional amendment also ensured that the limit under the anti-defection law was enhanced from one-thirds to two-thirds, while framing clear guidelines to disqualify the defectors.

Modi also lauded for Vajpayee for changing the timing of presenting the budget to 11 am from the traditional British-era timing of 5 p.m. because in London, Parliament used to start working at that time.

He said the framing of the Flag Code in 2002 was another “freedom” for India as it made it possible to unfurl the tricolour in public places. “This provided a chance to more and more of our countrymen to unfurl our national flag. Thus, he brought our beloved tricolour closer to the common man,” Modi said.

First Published: Aug 26, 2018 14:39 IST