BJP Planning Simultaneous Polls In 11 States In 2019, Say Sources

The BJP is considering assembly elections in at least 11 states along with the Lok Sabha polls next year.

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Amit Shah wrote a letter to the Law Commission favouring simultaneous elections (File)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana polls are due by middle of next year
  2. Way to go about this would be to have spell of President's Rule: sources
  3. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram polls due this year

The BJP plans to hold elections in at least 11 states next year along with the general elections as an exploratory implementation of its idea of simultaneous elections. This exercise, sources said, will not require any amendment of the constitution, which is one of the key issues flagged by political parties opposing the idea.

Elections in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana are due by the middle of next year. With some deft management, elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Jharkhand and Bihar can also be held together.

The way to go about this, sources said, would be to have a spell of President's Rule in states that go to polls before next April-May, and declare early elections in states where polls are due later.

Elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are due in November-December this year. These states would be the candidates for President's Rule.

Elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra are due in November-December next year and in Bihar, the date is 2020. But since these are NDA-ruled states, assemblies can be dissolved and election can take place along with the Lok Sabha polls.

Political parties are divided on the issue of one nation one election, despite the government's many attempts to bring them on board since Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched the idea two years ago. The government contends that holding polls at the national and state levels will cut down on the cost of elections in terms of both time and money.

The Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK, Telugu Desam Party, Left parties and the JD(S) have consistently opposed the proposal, questioning its feasibility and arguing that it would be against federal principles.

A paper by the Law Commission recently recommended holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in two phases beginning 2019.

Yesterday, BJP chief Amit Shah spoke in support of the idea again, calling any opposition to it politically motivated. In a letter to the Law Commission, Mr Shah said the BJP was committed to this idea and believes that in a progressive democracy like India, elections should be held at a fixed time and for a fixed tenure so that people's representatives can carry out their duties effectively.



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