President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday backed the idea of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, asserting that simultaneous elections would facilitate accelerated development and benefit people. The backing for the plan in the presidential speech comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a meeting of political parties that he would set up a committee to take a close look on implementing simultaneous elections and come up with answers within a specified deadline.Many opposition parties including the Congress had skipped the meeting. Leaders of Left parties who attended the meeting had their reservations. “Prolonging or shortening of assembly is anti-democracy, anti-federal. It’s bringing presidential rule in a backdoor,” said Sitaram Yechury of the CPM.Follow live updatesAddressing the joint sitting of Parliament – the first after the constitution of the 17th Lok Sabha – President Kovind asked MPs to support the idea because it would help in development of the country.“Our countrymen have demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict both at State and National issues. ‘One Nation – Simultaneous Elections’ is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefitting our countrymen,” the President said.Also Read | ‘Clear mandate in polls’: President Ram Nath Kovind in address to joint Parliament sessionWith such a system in place, all political parties, according to their respective ideologies, will be able to better utilise their energy towards development and public welfare. Therefore, I urge all Members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development oriented proposal of ‘One Nation - Simultaneous Elections’,” President Kovind said.Indian has discussed ‘one nation one election’ idea for many years, starting with a Law Commission suggestion in 1999.Also Read | In address to Parliament, President Kovind slips in some advice for MPsA 2015 report by Parliament’s standing committee too suggested holding simultaneous election to save public money and end policy paralysis because of the impact of the model code of conduct. It pegged the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies at Rs 4500 crore.