One Nation, One Election: Many Opposition Leaders To Skip PM’s Meeting Today


NEW DELHI — Leaders of many Opposition parties are most likely to give a miss to a meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss the ‘one nation one election’ formula.

They include DMK president M.K. Stalin, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar.

In a letter Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee excused herself from the scheduled meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with political party chiefs in Delhi on Wednesday while asking the government to prepare a white paper on ‘one nation, one election’ instead of doing it “hurriedly”.

The DMK has not given any particular reason except that Mr. Stalin has prior commitments. It opposes the idea, saying the formula will subvert federalism and democratic rights. Since the meeting is only for party presidents, the party can’t nominate any representative.

The others have not given any reason for missing the meeting, the invites for which had been sent by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi to all party presidents.

The Opposition parties will meet at 10:30 am on Wednesday to discuss the issue among themselves in Parliament. The Left parties will take a call on whether to attend or not after the Opposition meet.

On Sunday, speaking at an all-party meeting, Mr. Modi announced that he wanted to have a debate on “one nation one election”. He said a lot of time, energy and money was spent on holding separate polls.

Meet to discuss other issues too

Besides “one nation one election”, the meeting will also discuss the Union government’s scheme of aspirational districts, celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year.

Ms Banerjee, in her letter to Mr Joshi, said too short time had been given to political parties to respond to the idea.

 “A proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like ‘one country, one election’ in such a short time would not do justice to the subject it deserves. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, elections experts and above all, the party members,” she said.

Modi Meets Key Secretaries In Run-Up To Budget

Ahead of the maiden budget of his second term in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 18 brainstormed with top bureaucrats of Finance and other Ministries for ideas to reverse a sagging economy and create jobs.

Sources said the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence had in attendance all five Secretaries in the Finance Ministry as well as Niti Aayog officials.

Modi is likely to have discussed the reforms road map for every department with a view to making it easier to do business in the country and boost economy.

The agenda for increasing revenue mop-up and taking reform steps to push GDP growth, which has slipped to 5-year low of 6.8% in 2018-19, may have also figured in the meeting, they said.

Data showed that even though inflation continued to be within the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) comfort range, economic growth in January-March quarter slumped to a 5-year low of 5.8%, pushing India behind China, due to poor showing by agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

With 2019-20 budget scheduled to be presented on July 5, Mr. Modi has started holding deliberations with top most bureaucrats for ideas, which could form part of the Budget.

While steps to promote investments in manufacturing would be high on agenda, the Modi 2.0 government would also look at steps to address agriculture distress and improve farm income in the upcoming Budget.

The Budget, which would be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is expected to address issues like slowing economy, financial sector troubles like rising non-performing assets (NPAs) and liquidity crisis in NBFCs (non-banking financial companies), job creation, private investments, exports revival, agrarian crisis, besides raising public investment without compromising on fiscal prudence.

In their pre-budget meeting with Ms. Sitharaman last week, economists suggested insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC)-type framework for NBFC sector, besides initiating job-oriented growth measures and maintaining fiscal prudence. Financial sector on their part pitched for a special liquidity window for non-banking finance companies.

Labour survey report released officially last month showed unemployment touched 45 year high of 6.1% in 2017-18. — PTI


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