Prez bats for simultaneous LS, Assembly polls

Published: Tue, 01/31/2017 - 13:05 Updated: Fri, 08/04/2017 - 11:26

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukjherjee today made a strong case for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies, saying that a constructive debate should take place on the proposal in the light of the fact that frequent elections put severe burden on the country’s resources.

In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session, the President also proposed funding of polls to check corruption. “Frequent elections put on hold development programmes, disrupt normal public life, impact essential services and burden people with prolonged periods of election duty,” the President pointed out.

He urged the Election Commission to take a decision on the issue in consultation with political parties and said that the government would welcome any such decision.

With the previous session turning out to be a washout due to frequent standoffs between the Opposition and the government on demonetisation and other issues, Mukherjee also underlined that debates, discussion and giving room to others’ point of view were the only way forward for a 'resurgent India'.

“The vision of Mahatama Gandhi and other founding fathers lay down a great path for resurgent India. This path is of debate, discussion, accommodation and understanding. It is the rich tradition of Samvad, Samanvay and Samvedna that will continue to guide the spirit of our nation building,” he said. He emphasised that it is the spirit of ‘Sab ka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ that will bring equality and dignity to all as promised in the Constitution.

The President also spoke about demonetisation and other steps taken by his government to check black money, corruption, fake currency and terror financing. He lauded the valour of the defence forces for conducting surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control and said that it was a befitting response to repeated incursions in the Indian territory.

As the noose around terrorism tightens with the new Donald Trump administration taking over in the US, Mukherjee sent out clear signals to the international community that India will actively collaborate with other nations in decisively defeating these forces.

Rolling out the agenda of the Narendra Modi government, the President said his government was committed to combating terrorism and ensuring that the perpetrators of such acts are brought to justice.

"India has been facing the grave challenge of terrorism for the last four decades. Terrorism poses a serious danger to the global community. India will actively collaborate with other nations in decisively defeating these forces," the President said.

(With inputs from UNI)