HW English

Oppn parties to huddle before taking call on attending PM’s simultaneous poll meet

New Delhi | Opposition parties, including the Congress, which are opposed to holding of simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies, will take a call today whether to attend a meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ‘one nation, one election’ issue.

Leaders of UPA constituents, who met in Parliament on Tuesday evening, discussed the issue and decided that they would hold further discussions with other like-minded parties before taking a final call on the matter.

Asked whether Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will attend Wednesday’s meeting convened by the prime minister, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said “you will know tomorrow”. Rahul evaded questions on the issue when posed to him after the meeting in Parliament.

Modi has invited the heads of all the political parties that have at least one member either in the Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue.

Leaders of UPA constituents, including T R Balu and Kanimozi of DMK, Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, NCP leader Supriya Sule and P K Kunhali Kutty of IUML, attended Tuesday’s meeting in Parliament. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting, besides CPI’s D Raja and N K Premchandran of RSP.

Opposition parties are weary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a “trap” set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead, sources said.

Many opposition parties are yet to decide on whether to attend the meeting, while some party chief like Mamata Banerjee of TMC, M K Stalin of DMK and TRS’ K Chandrasekhar Rao have already announced their decision of not attending the meeting convened by the prime minister.

Banerjee excused herself and asked the Centre to prepare a white paper on the issue, instead of doing it “hurriedly”. “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. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, election experts and above all, the party members,” she said in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi.

TRS will be represented at the meeting by its working president K T Rama Rao, the son of the Telangana chief minister.

The agenda for the meeting also include celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner-meeting with all the MPs on June 20.

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