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Simultaneous poll debate good for democracy: Modi 

New Delhi, August 26
Invoking the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his contribution towards the betterment of the country’s political culture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the debate on holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections as a healthy sign for democracy.
Speaking on his radio show ‘Mann ki Baat’, Modi said the government and the Opposition both were putting forth their views, which was a good development and a healthy sign for democracy.
“Developing healthy traditions, making constant efforts to strengthen democracy and encouraging open-minded debates will also be an appropriate tribute to Atalji,” Modi said on simultaneous polls, an issue that has divided political parties. Hailing Vajpayee, Modi said the 91st constitutional amendment law he had brought in 2003 restricted the size of cabinets in states to 15 per cent of the total seats in the legislative assembly. “The culture of forming a jumbo cabinet was being misused. Atalji changed it,” he said.  It was during his tenure that the timing of presenting the budget was changed from 5 pm to 11 am. Earlier, as was the British tradition, the Budget used to be presented at 5 pm because in London, Parliament used to start working at that time. The framing of the Flag Code in 2002 was another “freedom” for India as it brought the national flag closer to the masses, he said. 
The PM also said no civil society could tolerate any kind of injustice towards women. “The nation will not tolerate those committing rapes. With this on mind, Parliament has made a provision of strictest punishment by passing the Criminal Act Amendment Bill. Those guilty of rape will get a minimum sentence of 10 years and those found guilty of raping girls below the age of 12 years will be awarded death sentence,”he said.
Expressing solidarity with the people of flood-ravaged Kerala and lauding the contributions of armed, paramilitary and NDRF personnel in rescue and relief operations, the PM said people from across the country were with them in their hour of crisis.
He also thanked all parties for the recent most productive Parliament session that saw important legislative business being passed. 

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