Is Narendra Modi readying up for simultaneous polls?

Is Narendra Modi readying up for simultaneous polls?

Is Narendra Modi readying up for simultaneous polls?
January 30
04:25 2018

Is Narendra Modi readying up for simultaneous polls?

Is India headed for a snap poll and will the elections to the State and the Central Governments be held simultaneously?

Holding elections for the state and the Central governments at the same time has been a favourite subject of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this found an echo in President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday. Kovind called called for a “sustained debate” on holding simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies. He said there was a need to arrive at a consensus over the issue.

“Frequent elections not only impose a huge burden on human resources but also impede the development process due to the promulgation of the model code of conduct,” the President said.

Significantly, Kovind’s remarks come barely few days after the Prime Minister made a similar pitch. He felt that once the elections are held together, the governments at both the Centre as well as the state can devote the next five years to governance which otherwise suffers due to frequent polls.

In 2016, the Election Commission (EC) had informed  the Centret that it backs simultaneous polls but pointed out that at least Rs 9000 crore would be needed for this. Newly-appointed chief election commissioner O P Rawat, however, had recently said  the legal framework required to hold the two elections together will need considerable amount of time. The EC has informed the government as well as a parliamentary committee that simultaneous elections to the Centre and the States would require large-scale purchase of Electronic Voting Machines and paper trail machines. But, this could also mean that there is less expenditure on making arrangements and deploying of central forces for the polls, supporters for simultaneious elections argue.

With Modi and Kovind speaking the same language, the debate over whether the country is heading for a snap poll in November is gathering pace. AP and Telangana chief ministers have already cautioned their supporters to be prepared for polls in November.

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