Political parties were divided on the issue of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously, with four supporting the idea and nine opposing it. The ruling BJP and the main Opposition Congress stayed away from a consultation organized by the Law Commission of India on the subject.
On the other hand, BJP ally Goa Forward Party opposed the concept, as did the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), All India Forward Block (AIFB) and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS).
The SP, represented by Ram Gopal Yadav, supported the concept. But Yadav made it clear that the first simultaneous poll should be held in 2019, when the term of the 16th Lok Sabha comes to an end.
If simultaneous polls are held in 2019, the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government in Uttar Pradesh will be shortened.
AAP member Ashish Khetan told the law panel that simultaneous polls are a “ploy” to keep people away from forming a government as the terms of houses will be extended if the two polls are held together.
JD-S representative Danish Ali told the law panel that the idea is against federal democracy. He said if the government is interested in electoral reforms, it should first implement earlier law panel reports on election reforms and then discuss simultaneous polls.
During deliberations on Saturday, the Trinamool Congress and CPI strongly argued against the move while NDA member Shiromani Akali Dal and the AIADMK backed the move. The AIADMK, however, qualified its support saying that the move should be implemented from the 2024 LS polls.
“We know that four to six months of time is spent in conducting elections each time to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislatures. The entire State and District level administrative and security machinery is very busy with the conduct of elections twice in a period five years as per the current practice. Likewise, the imposition of model code of conduct for such a long time is hampering developmental and welfare activities undertaken by the State government.”, stated Chandrashekhar Rao’s letter to the Commission.