Congress, several other opposition parties, stay away from one nation, one election meeting convened by Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Many opposition parties, including the Congress, on Wednesday, did not attend the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of ‘one nation, one election’ saying they did not support the idea of concurrent polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Congress decided to stay away from the meeting after discussions with other parties on the issue. The party had convened a meeting of all opposition leaders on Wednesday morning to discuss the issue but it was cancelled in view of its president Rahul Gandhi’s birthday.

Those joining the Congress in not attending the meeting include National Democratic Alliance member Shiv Sena as well as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Telugu Desam Party and the Trinamool Congress.

The Left parties, represented by Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India’s D Raja, attended the meeting but are opposed to the idea.

“We will attend and oppose the ‘one nation, one election’ issue,” a senior Left leader said.

Holding simultaneous polls to Parliament and state assemblies are essentially anti-federal and anti-democratic and thus against the Constitution, Yechury said.

The meeting was held in the library building of Parliament.

BSP chief Mayawati tweeted saying she would have attended the all-party meeting if it was on electronic voting machines (EVMs).

According to sources, Kejriwal did not attend the meeting. The Aam Aadmi Party was represented by party member Raghav Chadha, they said.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti was represented at the meeting by its working president K T Rama Rao, the son of K Chandrashekar Rao.

On Tuesday, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee declined the invitation to attend the meeting and asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the ‘one nation, one election’ issue for consultations.

Leaders of United Progressive Alliance constituents, who had 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.