One Nation, One Election A "Jumla", Says P Chidambaram

On the issue of whether the opposition could get together to take on the BJP in 2019, Mr Chidambaram said a broad understanding could be reached among parties.

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One Nation, One Election A 'Jumla', Says P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram at the launch of his book 'Speaking Truth to Power'

New Delhi:  With Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushing hard for a consensus on holding simultaneous state and national elections, former Home Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram has dismissed the idea, calling it a 'jumla'.

Speaking at the launch of his latest book, 'Speaking Truth to Power', moderated by NDTV, Mr Chidambaram said, "The Constitution of India does not give a fixed term to any government. So unless you amend the Constitution, you cannot have simultaneous elections. No state government or the central government has a fixed term under this Constitution and what if a government falls tomorrow? Will you put it under President's rule for four years? It can't be done. This is another of these election jumlas. One-Nation One-Tax was a jumla, now One-Nation One-Election is a jumla."

On the issue of whether the opposition could get together to take on the BJP in 2019, Mr Chidambaram said a broad understanding could be reached among parties. "We will come together to fight the elections in 2019 by some kind of a broad understanding. I think it will be with the party that is the strongest in each state. See, the Congress and BJP are directly pitted against each other only in about seven states. In all other states, the Congress shares the opposition space with somebody else like in Maharashtra or there is a regional party which is stronger than the Congress -- like in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. So, there will be some kind of a pre-election understanding in many states, there will be a post-election understanding in many states." 

However, that may be easier said than done. The Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav has said he won't align with the Congress. The CPM recently passed a resolution saying no to an alliance with the Congress, while there are reports that NCP chief Sharad Pawar has reservations about Rahul Gandhi's leadership.

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