BJP nod to simultaneous polls to Parliament, assemblies

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has given its “written approval” to a parliamentary committee for conducting simultaneous polls to the Parliament and state assemblies, informed sources said on Wednesday.

“We do not have a problem with simultaneous elections… even Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” a senior BJP leader said on the conditions of anonymity.

“We have given our views in writing to the parliamentary committee,” he added.

The sources said BJP president Amit Shah had written to the committee in this regard.

Modi had recently pitched for simultaneous polls to the panchayats, urban local bodies, states and the Parliament.

The Prime Minister expressed his views over dinner with leaders during the budget session of Parliament while responding to a suggestion by Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab.

Modi indicated he was supportive of such a proposal, if it took shape.

The conduct of simultaneous polls to the Parliament and assemblies was also promised by the BJP in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

The 79th report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice was recently presented in both houses of Parliament.

The report dealt with the issue of ‘Feasibility of Holding Simultaneous Elections to the House of People (Lok Sabha) and State Legislative Assemblies’.

The committee report felt that a debate should be initiated and efforts made for building a national consensus on the important issue to avoid frequent elections.

The concept of simultaneous polls isn’t new to the country. The first general elections and those of all state assemblies were held together in 1951-52.

This practice continued in subsequent general elections in 1957, 1962 and 1967. But with the premature dissolution of some assemblies in 1968 and 1969, this cycle was disrupted.