Narendra Modi says India needs 'one nation, one election', pitches for single voters' list

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via video, the prime minister said that having elections at different places every month is hampering the development work in the country

Press Trust of India November 26, 2020 19:04:35 IST
Narendra Modi says India needs 'one nation, one election', pitches for single voters' list

File Image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ANI

Kevadia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday advocated for the 'One Nation, One Election' system and a single voters' list, saying that elections taking place every few months hinders development.

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via video conference, Modi also paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and asserted that India is fighting terrorism now with new policy and new process.

On 26 November, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan killed 166 people, including 18 security personnel, in a 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

Making a strong pitch for simultaneous elections on Constitution Day, Modi said that `One Nation, One Election' was not "just an issue of deliberation, but also the need of the country".

"Elections are held at different places every few months and it hampers the developmental work and all of you know it. Therefore, it is a must to have deep study and deliberation on `One Nation, One Election'," he said.

He also said that having a single voters' list was desirable.

"Only one voters' list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections. Why are we wasting time and money on these lists?" he said.

He also emphasized the need for coordination between three wings of the state — Legislature, Executive and Judiciary — and said everything from these institutes' roles to their decorum is described in the Constitution.

"In the 1970s, we saw how there was an attempt to breach the dignity of separation of power, but the country got the answer only from the Constitution. After that period of Emergency, the system of checks and balances became stronger and stronger. The Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, all three learned a lot from that period and moved forward," the prime minister said.

National interest should form the basis of every decision, Modi said. "We must remember that when politics take over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations," he added.

He cited the example of delay in the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, saying it kept lingering and was completed after years. "This could have happened earlier if development was given precedence. Those who stalled it, have no repentance," he said in a clear attack on the Congress.

Underlining that there is no place for politics of untouchability, Modi cited the example of the Statue of Unity built by his government for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel despite Patel not being from the BJP or the Jana Sangh.

Constitution is our guiding light to take on challenges in the 21st century, Modi said and called for raising awareness about it.

"Our Constitution has many features but one very special feature is the importance given to duties. Mahatma Gandhi was very keen about this. He saw a close link between rights and duties. He felt that once we perform our duties, rights will automatically be safeguarded," Modi said.

He also referred to the practice of KYC (know your customer) in the corporate world and said there should be a similar KYC drive in the form of Know Your Constitution to popularize the Constitution and its different features.

Recalling the Mumbai terror attack, the prime minister said it was the biggest terror attack on the country.

"Today's date is associated with the biggest terrorattack on the country. On this date in 2008, terrorists sent from Pakistan had attacked Mumbai," he said.

"Many people died in that terror attack, and people of many nationalities were the victims. I pay my homage to all. I bow down to the security personnel who lost their lives in the attack. India can never forget the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and is now fighting terrorism with `nai neeti aur reeti' (new policy and new process)," he said.

The All India Presiding Officers Conference began in 1921, and the Gujarat event marks its centenary year.

The theme for this year's conference is 'Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary- Key to a Vibrant Democracy'.

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