'One India One Election': The Idea of PM Modi Gets the Vote of President

President Pranab Mukherjee today seemed to support simultaneous national and state elections - an idea pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

President Pranab Mukherjee today seemed to support simultaneous national and state elections - an idea pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi - while taking a specific course at a government school on Monday.

"Call me Pranab Sir or Mukherjee Sir," the 80-year old veteran politician declared as he walked into a classroom of 60 pupils.

He shared his views about a range of matters, including PM Modi's thought of holding all elections at the same time.

When a Class 11 pupil requested the President on the spending on elections and whether it would be great to hold all polls in one go, he responded: "The Election Commission can also place within their idea and attempts on holding the surveys together, and that'll be tremendously valuable."

The student, Ragini, said she "could not believe" that the President had answered her question with humility.

Mr. Mukherjee also had a strong message on terrorism. "We certainly face attacks but from cross-border terrorism. The success of our governance and administration lies in ensuring that homegrown terrorism, which is the world's biggest menace today, is not yet there in India," he said to the pupils.

The simultaneous surveys proposal first floated during a BJP meeting in March, saying annually this would cut down on the enormous price of holding elections. The Election Commission estimates that Lok Sabha and state surveys cost around Rs. 4,500 crores in 2004.

In June, the Election Commission backed the notion, saying that the issues involved in holding simultaneous elections will not be insurmountable for it if there are will and political consensus across the board.