Discussion on simultaneous polls good for democracy: Modi (Roundup)

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that discussions on simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies are a “healthy sign” for democracy.

Addressing the 47th edition of his monthly radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”, the Prime Minister expressed solidarity with Kerala, where over 400 people have died in devastating floods.

Modi also assured the Muslim women the country’s support on the issue of social justice.

“Presently efforts are afoot and discussions are being held about simultaneously holding elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. The government and the opposition – both are putting forth their view points. This is a healthy sign for our democracy,” he said.

Describing Vajpayee as a “true patriot”, he said the late Prime Minister brought fundamental reforms in the electoral process.

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“I must say that developing healthy traditions for a sound democracy, making constant efforts to strengthen democracy, encouraging open-minded debates would also be an appropriate tribute to Atalji.”

Modi’s remarks on simultaneous polls comes almost a month after the Law Commission held discussions with most political parties opposing the proposal saying that it was against the Constitution and would dilute regional interests.

The BJP’s stand is “One Nation, One Election”.

Crediting Vajpayee with bringing good governance to the mainstream and for injecting positive political culture in India, Modi recalled how he changed the time of budget presentation from 5 p.m. to 11 a.m and framed the rules that made it possible to unfurl the tricolour in public places.

“Atalji took bold steps to bring about fundamental reforms, whether in our election process or about the shortcomings concerning the people’s representatives.”

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He hailed Vajpayee for bringing the 91st Amendment Act, 2003 which restricted the size of the cabinet in states to 15 per cent of the total seats in the Assembly and also increased the limit under the anti-defection law from one-third to two-third.

Expressing solidarity with Kerala, he said people from all walks of life had come in support of those whose lives were devastated in the massive floods.

“In today’s pressing, hard times, the entire nation is with Kerala. Our sympathies are with the families who lost their loved ones. Loss of lives cannot be compensated, but I assure the grief-stricken families that in this moment of suffering and misery, 125 crore Indians stand by them.”

He said the sheer grit and courage of Keralites would see the state rise again.

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On the triple talaq bill passed by the Lok Sabha, he said: “Although it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha, I assure the Muslim women that the whole country stands by them to provide them social justice.”

Modi expressed his gratitude to MPs for the productive Monsoon session of Parliament.

He congratulated Indian players on their success at the ongoing Asian Games and said they have won medals even in those sports in which the country’s performance was not “so good earlier”.

“This too is a very positive indication that most medal winners hail from small towns and villages and these players have achieved their success by putting in sheer hard work.”

–IANS

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