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Congress opposes simultaneous poll

It is against federalism, says party

August 03, 2018 10:33 pm | Updated 10:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

BHUBANESWAR, ODISHA, 26/05/2018: Senior leader of the Congress Party Kapil Sibal addressed to media in a press conference against the Narendra Modi's government in the Pradesh congress office in Bhubaneswar.
Photo: Biswaranjan Rout

BHUBANESWAR, ODISHA, 26/05/2018: Senior leader of the Congress Party Kapil Sibal addressed to media in a press conference against the Narendra Modi's government in the Pradesh congress office in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Biswaranjan Rout

The Congress on Friday informed the Law Commission the party’s “vehement opposition” to the idea of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly elections together, and said it was against the basic structure of Indian federalism.

A Congress delegation comprising Mallikarjun Kharge, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, former Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Anand Sharma and J.D. Selam, met the panel to articulate the party’s stand on simultaneous polls.

Discussion paper

When the Law Commission had floated a discussion paper on simultaneous polls and asked political parties for their responses, the BJP and the Congress had stayed away from a consultation in July.

The BJP, however, had sought time from the Commission to respond and submit its views in writing.

Sources familiar with the deliberations said the Congress delegation was “vehemently opposed” to simultaneous elections. Party leaders are learnt to have told the Law Commission that “ending or extending terms of Assemblies was against the basic structure of the Constitution and Indian federalism”.

Political parties are divided on the issue. Besides NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal, the AIADMK, the Samajwadi Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have supported it.

While TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had extended strong support, the Samajwadi Party qualified its support that the move should be implemented from 2019 suggesting that it should cut short the tenure of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.

The Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the DMK, the Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the JD(S) have opposed the proposal.

DMK working president M.K. Stalin had written a letter that pointed out, “The Working Paper does not seem to have considered that the Lok Sabha is also capable of being dissolved before its five-year tenure. If such a situation were to happen, it is unclear whether all Legislative Assemblies will also be dissolved to synchronise the electoral process again.”

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