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General election will be held in 2019 as per schedule, says Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

‘The entire process will be over before May 15, 2019’

The Centre will not advance the 2019 general election, and it will be held as per schedule, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told The Hindu on Saturday.

“The 2019 Lok Sabha election will be held on time. There is no question of advancing the poll dates. The entire process will be over before May 15, 2019,” he said.

The NDA Cabinet was sworn in on May 26, 2014. The 16th Lok Sabha election was held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12, 2014.

Onus on EC

Amid the Centre’s push for simultaneous elections to the Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, there was speculation that the Lok Sabha election could be advanced by a few months to coincide with the elections to the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram Assemblies, whose terms expire in December 2018-January 2019.

Asked about the possibility of simultaneous elections, Mr. Singh said this decision rested with the Election Commission.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said earlier that the possibility of simultaneous elections should be explored. The Election Commission has to explore the feasibility,” he said.

On August 15, Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat told The Hindu in an interview: “Simultaneous polls can be done. In fact, that is what happened for the first few elections after Independence. But all political parties have to agree to it.”

On August 24, Mr. Rawat told reporters in Aurangabad that simultaneous elections wou- ld not be possible without amending the Constitution. “The lawmakers will take at least a year to frame a law that can be enforceable. This process takes time. As soon as the Bill to amend the Constitution is ready, we [the Election Commission] will know that things are now moving,” Mr. Rawat had said.

On August 30, the Law Commission of India recommended simultaneous elections to save public money and said this would help the government focus on “developmental activities rather than electioneering.”

The first Lok Sabha election was held simultaneously with the elections to all State Assemblies in 1951-52. The practice continued in 1957, 1962 and 1967. However, owing to the premature dissolution of some Assemblies in 1968 and 1969, the cycle got disrupted. In 1970, the Lok Sabha itself was dissolved prematurely and fresh elections were held in 1971. The term of the fifth Lok Sabha was extended till 1977 under Article 352. After that, the eighth, tenth, fourteenth and fifteenth Lok Sabhas could complete their five-year terms. The sixth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth ones were dissolved prematurely. In 2004, the NDA -I government, under former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, lost the general election that was advanced by six months.

For the last 48 years, there have been separate elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies.

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Printable version | May 16, 2020 9:09:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/general-election-will-be-held-in-2019-as-per-schedule-says-rajnath-singh/article24844428.ece

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