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JD(U) backs Centre’s ‘one nation one election’ idea, says ready for mid-term polls in 2019

Bihar goes to poll in 2020 but state JD(U) president Bashistha Narain Singh says the party is okay with the idea of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2017 23:22 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
JD(U),One nation one election,Mid-term elections
Bihar chief minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar at a party’s national executive meeting in Patna on August 19.(AP Dube/HT Photo)

Is Bihar heading for a mid-term poll along with the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019?

If state Janata Dal (United) president Bashistha Narain Singh’s remarks on Tuesday are any indication, the ruling party in the state is gearing up for the snap poll.

Singh said if all political parties agreed on the idea of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections, JD(U) was game for it. “We are ready for mid-term polls if the Election Commission is willing and there is general consensus among all political parties,” said Singh.

Bihar assembly elections are due in 2020.

The JD(U)’s support will give strength to Centre’s move to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The JD(U) had earlier supported the NDA government on demonetisation, surgical strike and presidential election before joining the ruling coalition.

Earlier this year, the NITI Aayog had suggested a synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly polls from 2024 so as to ensure minimum ‘campaign-mode’ disruption to governance.

Outlining the details, the policy think-tank had said implementing the proposal might necessitate “a maximum one-time curtailment or extension of some state assemblies”.

Read more: PM Modi’s reasoning for simultaneous elections stands on weak ground

It has made the Election Commission the nodal agency to look into the suggestion and recommended setting up of a working group of stakeholders for deciding a roadmap for synchronised elections.

The draft report was circulated among governing council members (comprising chief ministers of all states and others) of the NITI Aayog on April 23.

The recommendation assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched for simultaneous polls. Even former President Pranab Mukherjee had supported the idea.

A few days ago, Union minister for minority affairs and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, too, had stressed on the need for extensive electoral reforms that included holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly elections to minimise burden on the exchequer and also ensure uninterrupted development of the country.

Speaking about the electoral reforms, the Union minister had said the Centre was seriously mulling over the concept of ‘one nation, one election’, as frequent polls were adversely affecting progress of the country.

He said development projects were impeded when the model code of conduct was imposed during polls in various states, adding that nearly 30-40% of such activities were delayed during the period.

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 23:22 IST