Deora differs from party, seeks debate on simultaneous polls

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Contrary to the stand of his party, Congress leader Milind Deora on Wednesday said that the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ calls for an open-minded debate and said it should be given consideration, while criticizing the political class for forgetting the art of debate, discussion, and engagement.
In a statement about his “personal views” on ‘One Nation, One Election’ released on Twitter, the Congress Mumbai unit President also said the Narendra Modi government’s proposal to hold simultaneous polls is “worthy of a debate”.
“We must not forget that until 1967, India conducted simultaneous polls. As a former Member of Parliament and someone who has contested four elections, I believe that being in continuous election mode is a roadblock to good governance, distracts politicians from addressing real issues and adds populism to the character of governance which is not necessarily a long-term solution to some of the gravest problems Indians face.”
Deora also said that he is yet to see evidence which suggests that if Assembly elections is held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections, it will help the party that is in power nationally, citing the results of the Assmbly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh held along with the Lok Sabha polls.
He also said that India’s 70-year electoral journey has taught that Indian voters are aware, informed and can differentiate between the state and the Central elections.
“Our democracy is neither fragile nor immature and the debate of ‘One Nation, One Poll’ calls for an open mind on either side of the spectrum.
“The skepticism of political parties should not be ridiculed, instead, the government must continue to attempt to build consensus. It must also refrain from seeking to implement such an important and valuable reform without taking all parties on board. This is not an ordinary reform as it will have a long-lasting impact on politics and governance,” he said.
Deora said the government should also invite Indian intelligentsia, academics, organizations working on electoral reforms and students to collectively provide their perspectives on this issue.
“In the last few years, we have seen partisan politics dictating matters that critically impact our democracy. This lack of bipartisanship is hurting India’s prospects and preventing it from freeing itself from the clutches of archaic precedents and systems,” he added.
Lamenting bold ideas rarely get bipartisan support in the country, he said: “The BJP paid a price for opposing the Civilian Nuclear Agreement. Similarly, I am confident that friends in the opposition will show pragmatism, objectivity, and far-sightedness when dealing with this issue.
“It is unfortunate that India’s political class — which I am a part of — is fast forgetting the art of debate, discussion, and engagement. This, in my opinion, is a grave threat to India’s democratic nature.”
Along with many other opposition parties, the Congress also skipped the meeting called by the Prime Minister over simultaneous polls.

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