New Delhi : Even as the Law Commission discusses legal steps on Tuesday for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the government has given up an idea of advancing the Lok Sabha elections from next April to later this year, along with Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Advancing the Lok Sabha elections would have required a similar step in case of the Assembly elections due at the same time in five states and that was found difficult because of the opposition parties in power, particularly in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are two other states that are to go to polls with the Lok Sabha.
Instead, it is contemplating to impose President’s rule in the three states that are ruled by the BJP to scuttle fresh Assembly elections this year-end, with resolutions adopted by the respective Assembly. Only difficulty it faces in getting the Assembly’s nod is in Mizoram where Congress chief minister Lal Thanhawla may not agree. If Thanhawla comes on board, 12 of the 29 states will have simultaneous polls along with the Lok Sabha in April next year that the government sees as preparing to ultimately hold the simultaneous elections in the country, an idea repeatedly advanced by PM Modi to put an end to elections every year dislocating the government administration.
BJP-ruled Maharashtra and Haryana may be persuaded to dissolve Assemblies ahead of the polls in November next year to have them with Lok Sabha in April next year. Sources say Bihar CM Nitish Kumar may also opt for elections next April instead of November 2020 as scheduled. In any case, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are to hold Assembly elections
along with Lok Sabha while polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are due this year-end and dissolution of Assemblies in Bihar, Maharashtra and Haryana will ensure simultaneous polls without any amendment in the law.
The BJP pushing ahead for the simultaneous polls became clear early this week when the BJP-led Maharashtra govt issued a notification setting up a two-member advisory panel of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and retired bureaucrat D K Shankaran to study feasibility of the simultaneous elections.
An internal document to be discussed by the Law Commission says clubbing of Lok Sabha and Parliament elections is feasible and all it requires is to amend the Representation of the People Act, changing the tenure of some Assemblies.
An amendment it suggests is to provide that the party in power in the government will continue even after passage of a no-confidence motion against it unless any other party or group secures a confidence motion within 14 days to make a legitimate claim for forming govt. The idea is to prevent any mid-term poll but elections only on completion of the full term of five years of the House — Lok Sabha or Assembly.
Niti Aayog, the government’s think-tank has endorsed simultaneous polls, noting that Assembly elections almost every six months disrupt governance and development as the governments are bound by the model code of conduct for elections.