Opposition parties on Friday said the coming together of the INDIA alliance had worried the ruling BJP, forcing it to set up a panel to explore the feasibility of holding Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously.
The parties said ‘one nation one poll’ would pose a threat to the federal structure of the country, but indicated that they were ready for an early election.
The government on Friday constituted a committee, headed by former President Ramnath Kovind, to explore the possibility of holding simultaneous elections to State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, a day after announcing a special session of Parliament from September 18-22.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said: “No matter how many diversions and distractions the ruling regime throws at the people, the citizens of India shall not be betrayed any more”.
Without making any direct reference to the formation of the committee, Mr. Kharge said on X (formerly twitter) that the countdown of this “autocratic government’s” exit has begun. “140 Cr Indians have decided to usher change,” he said.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “It is very clear that the Modi government and the BJP are rattled by the coming together of all secular parties.”
He was speaking in Mumbai where as many as 63 representatives from 28 Opposition parties have gathered together under the INDIA alliance.
‘We have to be alert’
Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar said the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were likely to be advanced and called upon the Opposition parties to be alert.
Informing that the possibility of early parliamentary polls was discussed in the meeting of INDIA parties, Mr. Kumar said in Mumbai: “The BJP wants to change the country’s history. Our aim is to strengthen the country and ensure welfare of all sections of society. We are moving expeditiously. Elections [to the Lok Sabha] can be held early and we have to be alert”.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath, however, said the Centre could not simply amend the Constitution; they also needed the approval of the States.
“For this, not just an amendment in the Constitution but also the approval of States is needed. In BJP-ruled States like Haryana and Maharashtra, they can decide and pass a proposal in the Cabinet to dissolve their respective Assemblies. You can’t just cut short the duration of a State Assembly; it doesn’t work like this,” he said.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut asserted that the country was already one and no one was questioning that. He said: “We demand fair elections, not ‘one nation one election’.”
“This move is being brought to divert attention from our demand for fair election,” Mr. Raut said questioning the need for calling a special session of Parliament during the Ganapati festival.
CPI’s D. Raja accused the government of taking a unilateral decision without discussing with other political parties.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed that the BJP was running scared of the INDIA alliance, and hence wanted to hold polls early.
“The Central government is afraid of the manner in which 28 parties have come together and are meeting for a third time... They want to conduct the [Lok Sabha] elections earlier and for that, a special session of the Parliament has been called,” he said.