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Spotlight: Indian PM Modi's idea of simultaneous polls gains support
BY 2018-07-11 07:20:57

NEW DELHI, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal opinion of holding simultaneous elections, which means all states' elections along with general elections, has received support from four major state-level political parties.

In common parlance the idea is preferably called "one nation, one election." These four parties, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Telegu Desam Party (TDP), and the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), gave their assent to the idea in a meeting with the country's Law Commission on Sunday, media reports said.

While JD-U, TDP and TRS are the current ruling parties in the states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, the SP has ruled the politically biggest state of Uttar Pradesh on several occasions in the past.

During his tenure as prime minister, Modi has on more than one occasion called for holding simultaneous polls across the country. In January this year, in a television interview he strongly advocated the idea of holding simultaneous elections.

This, he said, will save a lot of money and also let the politicians focus on works for full five years without being disturbed by elections, which, according to him, had become a "round-the-year" event in India.

In its political history, India has had simultaneous polls immediately after gaining Independence from the Britain in 1947 and attaining the status of "Republic" in 1950.

The first four simultaneous elections for Centre and states were held in 1951, 1957, 1962 and 1967. But slowly that trend disappeared, and frequent mid-term polls were witnessed.

According to sources, taking a cue from the ruling party, and prime minister's expressed opinion, the country's Law Commission also mulled over the idea and consulted the Election Commission of India about holding simultaneous polls.

The Law Commission has been eliciting opinion from major political parties. Sunday's meeting, where four political parties gave their nod, was one such meeting.

In October 2017, the Election Commission also favoured the idea, even as Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat stated: "We will be logistically ready to hold simultaneous polls by September 2018, but it's up to the government to take a decision and make necessary legal amendments for it."

A leading English daily "The Hindu" had then quoted Rawat as telling news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) that "The Election Commission has always been of the view that simultaneous elections will give enough time for incumbent government to formulate policies and implement programmes continuously for a longer time without interruptions caused by imposition of model code of conduct."

Considering the current developments and confabulations held in political circles over simultaneous polls, the country's main ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main Opposition party the Indian National Congress (INC) are leaving no stone unturned to win the next general elections, which are officially scheduled to be held early next year.

The BJP is considered a cadre-based party, which means it has a group of well-trained and qualified personnel to build up the party's base and disseminate both the party's and government's policies and programmes right up to the ground level.

The party also largely depends on its parent organisation the "Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh" (RSS), which for the first time actively participated in campaigning for the BJP in the last general elections.

BJP President Amit Shah, who has had a long and close association with Modi, has been working strenuously towards strengthening the party's base in areas where the party has not had a strong presence in the past, like the North-East and southern states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana.

On the other hand, the INC has pulled up its socks to improve its performance in the next elections. Notably, the party was reduced to its nadir wining a mere 44 parliamentary seats in the last elections, its worst ever performance. The party is raring to recover its traditional vote-bank which got eroded by the state-level parties, in general, and the BJP, in particular.

According to party insiders, the focus in the run up to the next elections would be to get back the support of the poorest of the poor and the unorganised labourers. The party is following a new slogan "Congress ka naara hai, har mazdoor hamara hai", which means "Congress wishes every labourer is with it."

In its 84th plenary session held in Delhi in March this year, the INC aimed to woo back the support of farmers and agricultural workers by promising them loan-waivers if it returns to power after next general elections. It also expressed its readiness of forging alliances with "like-minded" political parties in a bid to defeat the BJP.

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:)
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