Considering house panel suggestion for simultaneous polls: Naidu

New Delhi: The government is considering the recommendation of a parliamentary committee to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday.A

About the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, the minister called it “need of the hour” but did not comment on whether government will get the bill passed in the parliament session starting on April 25.

“Overwhelming majorities are in favour of simultaneous election,” Naidu said interacting with journalists at Indian Women Press Corps.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and personnel, in a report tabled in December last year, strongly recommended holding of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections all over the country.

The report however also said that most of the political parties which responded to the panel’s questionnaire called the idea is “noble” but “difficult to implement”.

Naidu said the measure, if implemented, will reduce expenditure, and time.

The minister said government is not able to tale “long term view” on issues because polls keep taking place.

“People want and I also personally strongly feel that parliament and assembly elections should be held on the same day. Within that one week, local body elections including cooperative elections can also be held,” Naidu said.

He said that government is talking to different political parties on the issue, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also “mentioned” the recommendation in an all party meeting.

“The prime minister also said this has to be taken up by talking to all political parties,” Naidu said.

On the GST bill, the minister called it “need of the hour”, but did not say if government is looking at getting it passed in the soon to start session.

The minister also said that a consensus has been largely reached on the bill, but the difference over cap on the GST rate continues.

On Congress’ demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on KG Basin Gas blocks, the minister said it was a state issue, and centre cannot constitute a JPC on it.

The CAG report, tabled in the Gujarat assembly on March 31, said there was no ‘commercial production’ in the KG Basin Gas blocks in which around Rs.19,576 crore were invested by the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government.