New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to attend the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss the “one nation one election” formula, citing lack of sufficient time to come with a “proper response”.
In a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, who had sent out invites to all party presidents, she said that such a “serious and sensitive subject” required consultation with constitutional and election experts. Above all, she said, to frame a proper response, she needed to consult all the members of her party.
Instead, Banerjee has asked the Union government to circulate a white paper on the subject inviting views from all political parties giving them adequate time to respond if the Centre indeed wanted “concrete suggestions”.
Modi has invited heads of all parties who have an MP either in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for a meeting on 19 June to discuss several issues including the “one nation, one election” idea, a celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year.
It will be followed by a dinner meeting with all MPs on 20 June.
Mamata also said that she and her party would participate wholeheartedly in the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year but stated that the issue regarding ways to improve the productivity of Parliament was a matter of the Lower House and should be dealt with by the concerned ministry.
She further stated that regarding the development of aspirational districts, her party Trinamool Congress had already conveyed that they are not in support of the selection of a few districts as it 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,” she said.
Banerjee had skipped the Niti Ayog meeting also last week.
The Left parties have already conveyed their opposition to the idea. Both the CPI and the CPI(M) have said that this idea is anti-democratic and seeks to insult the people’s mandate.