Efforts afoot, talks on for parallel polls, says Modi

Efforts afoot, talks on for parallel polls, says Modi

Days after the Election Commission ruled out simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a strong pitch for holding the same.

“Presently efforts are afoot and discussions are being held about simultaneously holding the elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Both the government and the Opposition are putting forth their view points. This is a good development and a healthy sign for our democracy,” Modi said in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address.

Modi’s remarks come on the eve of the meeting of all political leaders called by the Election Commission on a range of issues from capping their poll expenses to revision of electoral rolls and enhancing representation of women in organisational structures of political parties.

Earlier this month, political circles were abuzz with plans to hold elections to a dozen state assemblies along with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the Election Commission had dismissed such a possibility citing inadequate EVMs.

“Koi chance nahi (there is no chance),” Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat had said recently when asked about the possibility of holding simultaneous elections next year, citing absence of legal framework.

“The lawmakers will take at least a year to frame a law that can be enforceable,” Rawat had said.

The Congress and other Opposition parties have rejected the idea of simultaneous elections contending that it went against the very idea of federalism.

Though Modi is pitching discussions on simultaneous polls as a tribute to the memory of former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Election Commission on Monday may be faced with a demand from Opposition parties for going back to holding elections using ballot paper.