Mamata Banerjee to skip all-party meet, demands white paper on 'One Country, One Election'

Updated: Jun 18, 2019, 21:02 IST | mid-day online desk

Banerjee also opposed the development of 'aspirational districts', arguing it would not conform to the objective of achieving a balanced and uniform development of all districts

Mamata Banerjee to skip all-party meet, demands white paper on 'One Country, One Election'
Mamata Banerjee. Pic/AFP

Indicating that she would skip the meeting of presidents of all political parties convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday wrote to the Centre saying it should not go about "hurriedly" on a "sensitive and serious subject" like 'One Country, One Election'.

In a letter to Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, who formally invited her to the meeting, Banerjee demanded a white paper be circulated among all political parties seeking their views by proving them "adequate time".

Banerjee also opposed the development of 'aspirational districts', arguing it would not conform to the objective of achieving a balanced and uniform development of all districts.

"I have gone through the agenda of the meeting. In this context, I would like to mention that a proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like the 'One Country, One Election' in such a short time would not do justice to the subject it deserves. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, election experts and above all the party members.

"Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would request you to kindly circulate a White Paper on the subject to all political parties inviting their views by providing adequate time. If you only do so, we will be able to give concrete suggestions on this important subject," she said.

The Prime Minister has convened the meeting of heads of all parties who have representation in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha to deliberate on a number of issues including the 'One Nation, One Election' idea, as also the celebration of 75 years of independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year.

On the matter of development of aspirational districts, Banerjee informed Joshi that her party Trinamool Congress has already conveyed to the NITI Aayog at its June 15 meeting that it did not support "selection of a few districts as aspirational 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 said she and her party would wholeheartedly participate in the celebration of the country's 75th independence and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Banerjee has been on a collision course with the Centre and scaled up her fight by skipping the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister and his new Council of Ministers late last month. She also stayed away from the June 15 NITI Aayog governing council meeting.

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