- Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha set to go to polls
- The term of governments in all four states are set to end by April-May
- Simultaneous elections has been a key project of the BJP
Assembly elections in four states - Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha - are expected to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls this time. The term of the governments in all four states are set to end by April-May.
While simultaneous elections - the holding of national and the state elections together - has been a key project of the BJP, the opposition had pointed out several loopholes in the matter. The Election Commission said its implementation would involve changes in the constitution.
For now, there is a strong possibility that the election in the four states, as well as Jammu and Kashmir, would be held along with the national elections.
Three of these states are ruled by non-BJP parties, where the BJP has been trying to crave a niche.
Sikkim, ruled by the Pawan Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front, is the only state in the northeast which the BJP is not ruling either singly or as part of the alliance.
The BJP wrested power in Arunachal Pradesh in December 2016 after 33, out of 43 Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA) lawmakers led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, joined the saffron brigade after a political drama that stretched on for days.
In Andhra Pradesh, this will technically be the first parliamentary election since the bifurcation of Telangana. The state has 25 parliament and 175 assembly seats.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is making a bid for a second term in power, is also a key interlocutor of the opposition and has been trying to forge a united front against the BJP for months. At the state-level, he, however, has ruled out an alliance with the Congress, which is seen as the agent of the bifurcation by the people.
Mr Naidu has been part of the NDA during the 2014 elections, but last year, he walked out of the ruling alliance over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to his state.
In Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been ruling the state since 2000, will make another bid for power.
Earlier today, he announced 33% reservation for women in the allocation of Lok Sabha seats for his party, the Biju Janata Dal. The longest serving Chief Minister in the state, Mr Patnaik has maintained equal distance from the BJP and the Congress. He has also showed little interest in Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's initiative for a non-Congress, non-BJP front.
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