NEW DELHI: The BJP is mulling simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Assemblies early next year. With nine states—Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim heading for Assembly polls in the first half of 2019, besides three BJP-ruled states not averse for early polls—party leaders argue that there is a possibility of holding a precursor to the simultaneous elections soon enough. They argue that the party could be inclined to prepone Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
The tenure of the current Madhya Pradesh Assembly is till January 7, 2019, while those of Mizoram (December 15, 2018), Rajasthan (January 20, 2019), Chattisgarh (January 5, 2019) are also seen close enough to make adjustments for holding joint elections. Similarly, tenures of the Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh (June 14, 2019), Telangana (June 8, 2019), Arunachal Pradesh (June 1, 2019), Odisha (June 11, 2019), and Sikkim (May 27, 2019) are close to the 14th Lok Sabha elections (May 25, 2019).
“There is indeed a readymade script for the party to demonstrate that the Narendra Modi government could take bold decisions and guide the country for simultaneous elections, and, thus, save thousands of crores of rupees, besides policy paralysis in times of polls on account of model code of conduct,” said a senior BJP functionary.
BJP vice president Vinay Sahashrabuddhe has also presided over a brainstorming session on the roadmap for simultaneous elections recently.
However, Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap told The Sunday Standard that the tenures of Assemblies could be extended only under the provision of the Emergency and situations arising out of internal security challenges. “There is no need for any change in law if simultaneous elections could be held without extending tenures of Assemblies or Parliament. But the government will require to bring in Constitutional amendment if the tenures of the Assemblies have to be extended by a few months to facilitate holding of simultaneous elections,” said Kashyap.
BJP leaders said the NDA government at the Centre may not be averse to the idea of holding a joint session of Parliament to pave way for the exercise. “We may not have majority in the Rajya Sabha, but the government can call a joint session of the two Houses for legislative framework to go ahead with the exercise,” said a BJP functionary.