Modi favours wider debate on holding simultaneous polls

NEW DELHI, June 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for “widespread” debate on holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State assemblies saying that it will result in financial savings.

Modi was addressing the fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog that was attended by 23 chief ministers and one Lt Governor as also several union ministers and members of the think-tank.

The Central Government has been toying with the idea of holding simultaneous elections for quite sometime now.

“The Prime Minister called for widespread debate and consultations on simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas, keeping in view various aspects such as the resulting financial savings and consequent better utilisation of resources,” an official release said.

Later, briefing reporters, Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the Prime Minister noted that the country remains in “perpetual election mode” and pitched for holding simultaneous elections to elect Members of Parliament and state assemblies.

To begin with, he said, Modi suggested there could be one uniform voter list for all elections.

Niti Aayog had last year suggested synchronised, two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly polls from 2024 so as to ensure minimum ‘campaign-mode’ disruption to governance.

In his closing remarks at the meet, Modi also said that corporate investment in agriculture is very low in India and urged the state Governments to formulate policies to promote industry participation in the farm sector.

Speaking on various aspects of the economy, Modi said the world expects India to become a USD 5 trillion economy soon.

He encouraged states to give fresh ideas to the Finance Commission, for incentivising outcome-based allocations, and expenditure correction. (PTI)