Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday again raised the pitch for “One Nation, One Election” and a single voter list for all polls in order to prevent the impact of the model code of conduct on development works every few months due to frequent spread-out polls.
Also read: Comment | One nation, zero election
Mr. Modi was addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via videoconference. Apart from these two issues, the Prime Minister also asked the presiding officers attending the meet to apply their mind to simplify the language of statute books and allow for an easier process to weed out redundant laws.
“One Nation, One Election' isn’t just an issue of deliberation but also a need of the country. Elections are held at different places every few months and it hampers the developmental work and all of you know about it. Therefore, it’s a must to have a deep study and deliberation on ‘One Nation, One Election’,” he said.
On one voter list, he observed, “only one voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections. Why are we wasting time and money?”
Emphasising need for coordination between all three wings of the state -- Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, he stated that everything, from their role to their decorum, was described in the Constitution itself.
“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, the executive and the judiciary, all three, learned a lot from that period and moved forward,” he said.
Mr. Modi used very strong words to describe his then government of Gujarat’s work to get the Sardar Sarovar Dam completed, an example being how “politics was allowed to overshadow national interest”.
He said, “We must remember that when politics take over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations. This [completion of Sardar Sarovar Dam] could have happened earlier if development was given precedence. Those who stalled it, have no repentance”.
Talking about Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel, Mr. Modi pointed out that it was built by his government despite Patel not being from the BJP or the Jana Sangh.
“Constitution is our guiding light to take on challenges in the 21st century, and national interest should be our basis for every decision”, he urged.
Biggest terror strike
He recalled that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks happened on the same day in 2008 and asserted that India was fighting terrorism now with a “new policy and new process.” He noted that 26/11 was the biggest terror strike on the country. “India can never forget the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and is fighting now terrorism with ‘nai neeti aur reeti ke sath’ [new policy and way]”, he observed.
The All India Presiding Officers Conference began in 1921, and the Gujarat event marks its centenary year. The theme of this year's conference is ‘Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary- Key to a Vibrant Democracy’.