'Clear possibility' of early Lok Sabha polls: Sinha

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Nagpur, Mar 7 (UNI) Former Union Finance Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha today said there was a ''clear possibility'' that Lok Sabha polls would be held between October and December this year.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Sinha said political developments would precipitate in April when Parliament will meet to adopt the budget.

''The budget will be passed by the end of April, which means that polls will be announced in May. Elections will be held within six months after that -- anytime between October and December this year,'' he said.

''It is almost certain that the Lok Sabha polls will be held earlier than due. I would not call these 'mid-term' elections because we are hardly in the middle of the term of the (current) Lok Sabha,'' Mr Sinha said.

There is a wide rift in the United Progressive Alliance over the nuclear deal with the United States, and the UPA constituents are clashing with one another over the issue, he said.

Although the Left has reservations over the deal, it has still not withdrawn support to the UPA, and has now set a deadline of March 31 for the government to clarify its stand on the issue, Mr Sinha pointed out. ''It all means that while the Congress wants to derive political benefit from the deal, the Left is preparing for the collapse of the government,'' the former finance minister said.

Mr Sinha said the BJP was ready to face the polls any time. ''We have already decided to project (former deputy prime minister) Lal Krishna Advani as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister this time. By contrast, the UPA has not yet declared its candidate. It has not made it clear if it will project Dr Manmohan Singh as its candidate for the post or will remain mum on that count,'' he said.

Mr Sinha said there were 297 seats which the BJP had won at least once since 1989, but lost 158 of them in 2004. The BJP was carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation in these 158 constituencies, including the reasons for the loss in 2004, he said, adding that senior party leaders would go to all such places and assess the situation. The leaders had been asked to submit their reports by March 20, he said.


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