Nine parties oppose proposal for simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly elections

Four parties support move; BJP, Congress stay away from consultations

Political parties were divided on the issue of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections during consultations with the Law Commission of India.

As many as nine parties expressed their reservations while four parties supported the move.

The two major national parties — the BJP and the Congress — stayed away from the Law Commission’s deliberations. The BJP has, however, written to the Law Commission Chairman, Justice B.S. Chauhan, stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always argued in favour of simultaneous polls and sought time to submit their detailed response later.

Justice Chauhan is learnt to have asked that all representations be submitted by July 31.

The Congress said it would firm up its stand on the issue only after talking to allies and other political parties.

Among the parties that met the Commission on Sunday, the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK), Janata Dal (Secular), and Aam Admi party (AAP) were strongly opposed to simultaneous elections and argued that the move was against “basic tenets of the Constitution.”

Impractical, says TDP

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said while the One Nation-One Poll may be a “good idea”, it was “incompatible with the Constitution and impracticable.”

DMK Working President M.K. Stalin’s letter, submitted by party MP Tiruchi Siva, 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.”

“In a federal democracy you cannot think of simultaneous elections. This is a futile exercise. First and foremost poll reform should be to put a ceiling on expenditure but no one's talking about it,” senior JD (S) leader Danish Ali told The Hindu and added that the proposal was aimed against smaller regional players.

On the other hand, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) supported the move though the latter qualified it’s stand by saying that move should be implemented from the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. BJP ally, Janata Dal (United), too expressed support for simultaneous polls and mentioned that the proposal was part of the political resolution adopted at the party’s national executive meet on Sunday.

Always in poll mode

TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s letter to the Commission said: “We know that four to six months of time is spent in conducting elections each time to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislatures. The entire State and District level administrative and security machinery is very busy with the conduct of elections twice in a period five years as per the current practice. Likewise, imposition of model code of conduct for such a long time is hampering developmental and welfare activities undertaken by the State government.”

During deliberations on Saturday, the Trinamool Congress and CPI strongly argued against the move while NDA member Shiromani Akali Dal and the AIADMK backed the move. The AIADMK, however, qualified its support saying that the move should be implemented from the 2024 LS polls.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 10:49:32 PM |

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