Mumbai: The state government would probably go in favour to conduct Parliament and state assembly polls simultaneously as Lok Sabha poll alone brings burden of over Rs 864 crore on state exchequer. A committee headed by finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has been formed to review and recommend the Union government whether to conduct simultaneous elections. D K Shankaran, former Chief Electoral Officer, is the member of a two-member committee. The first meeting of the committee was held on Tuesday in which preliminary discussion was held.
According to Mungantiwar, each Lok Sabha constituency need at least Rs 18 crore to conduct the election. “My finance department has alloted Rs 18 crore each for recently concluded by-poll in Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia LS poll,” said the minister. This amount need to State Election Commission to conduct the poll process. The minister further said, if the commission had spent such a huge amount over a single constituency, that means the government may have to spend Rs 864 crore for the holding elections to 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in 2019. “This is the amount we spent on LS poll. The amount need to conduct assembly poll, election for local body constituency will be different. Hence there is need to find out actual amount we need or we had spent over various elections,” said Mungantiwar.
He said, “Election code of conduct is a major hurdle which stops all development works and do not allow the government to take any decisions related to development,” and election code of conduct was imposed for 351 days during last four years which means almost period of a year was wasted due to election.
“If all elections will be conducted in the same year, we can save a lot of tax payers money and can go ahead for development works,” the minister said. There are 288 assembly constituencies, 22 municipal corporations, 226 municipal councils, 34 zilla parishad, 355 Panchayat Samitis and 28813 gram panchayats.