New Delhi, Mar 30: The proposal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies is likely to see a fresh push from BJP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi batted for it at a recent party meeting.
Modi said during a meeting of party office-bearers on March 19 that state elections coupled with local-level polls, spread across virtually every year, often "hinder" the execution of welfare measures, a party official said, adding that the Prime Minister was keen on simultaneous elections once in five years.
"The view in the BJP is that there should be combined elections from panchayat to Parliament," he said. Due to ceaseless election cycle, delivery mechanism often comes to a halt, he said, making a reference to Modi's comments. It will also save a lot of taxpayers' money, he added. The idea, floated long back by BJP veteran L K Advani, has found favourable mentions from various Parliamentary panels and the Law Commission.
However, due to the complexities in undertaking the mammoth exercise, no government has taken up the issue even though political parties and leaders have spoken about it on and off. BJP sources said the idea was informally floated by the government in an all-party meeting held prior to the Budget Session.
"It was not on agenda. But it was taken up informally and drew support from some big parties. We are, however, not sure what will be their response if a formal discussion is started on the matter," they said. The Standing Committee on Law and Personnel in its recent report had made a strong pitch for holding of simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections all over the country, suggesting that it can be done in the near future.
"The Committee does not feel that simultaneous election in every five year cannot be held in the near future but slowly it would reach in stages for which tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be curtailed or extended," it said in a report tabled in Parliament in the Winter Session.
The Election Commission also extended its in principle support for the exercise. But most of the political parties which responded to the Standing Committee's questionnaire said the idea is "noble" but "difficult to implement".