'One Nation, One Election' has hidden agenda to turn India into dictatorship, TMC leaders tell panel

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New Delhi: A delegation of Trinamool Congress leaders told the high-powered committee on 'One Nation, One Election' on Tuesday that it has a "hidden agenda" to turn India into a "dictatorship".

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Kalyan Banerjee appeared for a meeting with the panel chaired by former president Ram Nath Kovind after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was to attend the meeting, cancelled her trip to Delhi at the last moment due to state budget related work.

Talking to media after the meeting, Banerjee said they referred to a letter written by Banerjee to the panel and expressed opposition to the idea.

"We appeared before the committee headed by the former president. We referred to the letter written by our leader Mamata Banerjee. We have said very categorically that we are opposing the idea of 'One Nation, One Election'. There is a hidden agenda to form a dictatorship government in future," Banerjee said.

"Earlier there were practically two national parties which had political operations all over India. Now so many regional parties have come. The Constitution itself says so far as state legislature is concerned, it is the people's will to choose their government for five years. Similarly people will choose the central government for five years. These two articles are the basic structure of the Constitution," Banerjee said.

"These constitutional provisions cannot be interfered with and the power of people cannot be curtailed by bringing the concept of 'One Nation One Election'," he said.

"Let's assume that a state government has fallen. That's happening now everywhere. In that case, would that state government continue or for the rest of the period president's rule will be imposed? In that case people's choice will be compromised... This idea is really interfering with the federal structure of the country itself," he said.

"For the last few years, the opposition parties have been saying that the central government is interfering with the federal structure of the country. Therefore, we are opposing this idea," the TMC leader added.

Mamata Banerjee, who heads the Trinamool Congress, wrote to the high level committee on 'One Nation, One Election' last month, saying she does not agree with the concept as framed by them. She said she disagrees with their "formulation and proposal".

The West Bengal chief minister questioned the meaning of 'One Nation' in the context and added that unless the "basic enigma" of where the concept came from is solved, it is difficult to arrive at any firm view on the catchy phrase.