In RSVP for PM Modi-chaired meet, Mamata takes a swipe at ‘hurried’ move
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has declined an invitation to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with chiefs of political party to discuss four topics including simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
In a letter to the Centre, the Trinamool Congress chief didn’t spell out her stand on simultaneous elections but insisted that the government appeared to be rushing to hold the meeting on such a “serious and sensitive topic” without holding discussions with constitutional experts, election experts and party members.
She asked the Centre to first come out with white paper on ‘one nation, one election”.
“Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would 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,” Mamata Banerjee wrote to union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi.
On Friday, Joshi had sent out invites to heads of all parties who have a lawmaker in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for a meeting on Tuesday. The other three topics that Joshi proposed for discussion include the push to develop a selected group of districts to be known as aspirational districts, celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year and improve parliament’s productivity.
The BJP had breached Mamata Banerjee’s citadel in the just-concluded national elections, ending up with 19 seats in a state where it had just two in 2014. The BJP has vowed to capture power in Bengal when the state votes for a new assembly in 2021 and has already emerged as Mamata Banerjee’s sharpest and loudest critic.
Banerjee also struck a discordant note on the concept of giving development projects in selected districts a hard push. This, she said, would not conform to the overall objectives of achieving balanced and uniform development of all the districts of the state.
“Our state is committed to ensuring social and economic development of all districts uniformly so that regional imbalances do not rise,” Mamata Banerjee, who had also skipped last week’s Niti Aayog meeting, said.
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