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Most parties oppose simultaneous polls

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, July 7 - Most political parties, including those friendly with the BJP, told the Law Commission today that they are opposed to the proposal of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies saying that it was against the Constitution and would dilute regional interests.

Parties that opposed the proposal included Trinamool Congress and CPI and IUML. AIADMK, which is perceived to be close to the BJP, and BJP ally Goa Forward Party opposed it. AIADMK said it was opposed to holding simultaneous elections in 2019 but can consider the proposal in 2024 if there is a consensus on the issue.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a part of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, supported the proposal, which has been strongly articulated many times by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Law Commission had written to recognised national and state parties to participate in consultation on simultaneous polls being held by it on July 7 and 8.

Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, who put forward party�s views before the Law Commission, later said that Modi�s concept of simultaneous elections in the country is �impractical and unconstitutional�.

AIADMK leader M Thambidurai told reporters that it was not possible to hold simultaneous elections in 2019. �It is not possible in 2019 because people of states like Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal, Tamil Nadu and others have voted a government for five years. Let these assemblies complete their full term,� he said.

CPI leader Atul Anjan said the Law Commission had been asked to hold consultations as part of �one country, one election� agenda being pushed by Modi. �The CPI feels that holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Assemblies in the present social and economic conditions, when states have their own agenda and difficulties, is against the basic spirit of the Constitution,� he added.

The AIUDF opposed the simultaneous poll proposal saying such a move would dilute the role of regional parties and regional issues.

SAD MP Naresh Gujral said the party �fully supports� the proposal. He said elections have become very expensive and it was in national interest not to spend so much money. Gujral also said that imposition of election code of conduct ahead of elections impacts decision making and almost one year of five-year term of a government goes in preparing for various elections.

Indian Union Muslim League opposed the proposal with its secretary Khorrum A Omer telling the Commission that it will not make any significant improvement in the electoral process.

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury had written a letter to the Law Commission earlier this week and termed the idea of simultaneous polls as �inherently anti-democratic.� Yechury said the proposal �negates the principles of federalism which is a fundamental feature of Indian Constitution.�

The BJP, which has voiced its support to the proposal, has sought more time from the Commission to present its views on the issue. It has been told to do so by July 31 as the term of the present panel ends in August-end, sources said.

The Congress, meanwhile, said it will consult other opposition parties on the issue before deciding its course of action. �We are in talks with all the opposition parties and we shall be taking a joint decision on that. We are not going to boycott,� party leader RPN Singh told reporters at its official briefing.

The Law Commission had come out with a draft white paper in April on the simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies that contained its possible recommendations.

It said that simultaneous elections may be restored in the nation by amending the Constitution, Representation of the People Act of 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies. � Agencies

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