NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly pitched for holding simultaneous Lok Sabha, assembly and local body polls, saying the relentless electoral cycle harms the federal structure, besides costing a lot of money and affecting government's works.
In an interview to Zee News, he said like festivals, election schedule should be fixed so that all polls are held within a limited period, enabling the Centre and state governments to focus on governance for five years.
"Like festivals, elections too should be held during a fixed time," Modi said.
In this context, he cited the example of Holi festival during which people throw colour and even mud at each other, but it is done only that day.
He also batted for having a single electoral roll for Lok Sabha, assembly and local body polls.
He said only he or his party cannot implement the idea of holding simultaneous polls and that all parties will have to join hands to do so. A debate can be started, he said.
To a question, he said the agenda of simultaneous polls does not belong to the BJP or Modi, but everyone must come together and brainstorm.
He said political attacks happen during elections that damages federal structure and fabric due to continuous cycle of polls in the country.
He also referred to deployment of bureaucrats as observers during elections and security personnel in polls across the country which, he added, can be minimised by holding simultaneous polls.
Asked if his government, which will present its final full-fledged budget on February 1, was getting ready for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi said it was not about budget or elections and that his dispensation was focussed on development.
Attacking previous governments, he said they ruled the country only to win elections but "I believe that we should run government to benefit the country", keeping in mind the long-term interests of the country.
To another query, he said history of casteism in politics was the country's "misfortune" but his and his government's mantra was development for everybody.
Asked about his habit of keeping a busy schedule, Modi said his doctor friends advise him against it but he cannot live without work and wanted to utilise every moment of his life for the country's benefit.