Debate on simultaneous polls 'healthy sign for democracy': PM Modi

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New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said debate on holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously was a healthy sign for democracy, and it was an appropriate tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who changed the country’s political culture.

Addresing the 47th edition of his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi said, “Efforts were afoot and discussions being held about simultaneously holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

"The government and the opposition both are putting forth their view points. This is a good development and a healthy sign for our democracy. I must say that developing healthy traditions for a sound democracy, making constant efforts to strengthen democracy, encouraging open-minded debates would also be an appropriate tribute to Atalji,” PTI quoted PM Modi as saying.

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Referring to Vajpayee's unforgettable contributions to the field of politics, Modi further said India would remain grateful to Atal Bihari Vajpayee for bringing good governance into the main stream.

“But, I just want to touch upon one more facet of Atalji’s legendary personality and that is the political culture which Atalji gave to India, his efforts in the direction of bringing about the changes in our political culture, his efforts to mould it into an organised framework and which proved very beneficial for India and a bigger benefit will accrue in days to come,” Modi added.

PM Modi’s comment on simultaneous polls came days after the Election Commission ruled out any possibilities of holding simultaneous elections to the state assemblies along with the Lok Sabha polls.

Political parties were divided on the issue of simultaneous polls. While BJP, its NDA partners Shiromani Akali Dal, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and Telangana Rashtra Samiti had supported simultaneous polls, the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK, Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the JD(S) had opposed the proposal.

On Thursday, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat had said there were no chances of holding the two polls together without a legal framework. “Koi chance nahi,” he had said. 

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“The lawmakers will take at least a year to frame a law that can be enforceable. This process takes time. As soon as the Bill to amend the Constitution is ready, we (the Election Commission) will know that things are now moving),” Rawat said.

If simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held in 2019, the EC will require nearly 24 lakh EVMs, double the number required to hold only the Parliamentary polls.

(With PTI inputs)

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