Views on joint polls hint at ties with BJP

Published Jul 12, 2018, 1:56 am IST
Updated Jul 12, 2018, 1:56 am IST
Simultaneous polls not new to Telugu states, held five times since 1989.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Hyderabad: Political parties in the country are divided on the issue of holding elections simultaneously to Parliament and state assemblies. The idea of simultaneous polls was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a Niti Aayog meeting held with Chief Ministers of all states last year and again recently. 

The PM sought wider consultations will all parties on this issue to arrive at a consensus. The intent was to save public money and ensure development is not hit due to the current practice of holding elections round the year in some state or the other.


The consultations held by the National Law Commission last week to seek views of all political parties on this matter, gives hints on possible political alliances for the 2019 elections.

While five parties supported the idea, nine opposed it. Interestingly, from the Telugu states, the TRS and the YSR Congress supported the idea, while the Telugu Desam opposed it, indicating who will ally with the BJP in 2019.

NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal supported the simultaneous polls unconditionally. The TRS, YSR Congress Party, AIADMK and Samajwadi party followed suit.
However, AIADMK and SP extended conditional support. The AIADMK wants simultaneous polls to be held in 2024, and the SP wants the polls to be held in 2019.

The fact that the TRS and YSRCP supported simultaneous polls unconditionally, has led to intense political speculation that both parties will ally with the BJP after the 2019 elections and join the NDA government if it gets the required majority.

Notably, BJP ally Goa Forward Party opposed the idea as did the Trinamul, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK, Telugu Desam, CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and the Janata Dal (Secular), alleging that simultaneous polls are a “ploy” of the BJP to impose “managed democracy” in the country.

However, TRS deputy floor leader in the Lok Sabha, B. Vinod Kumar, who represented the TRS at the meeting, said the analysis that local issues would be overshadowed by national issues if simultaneous polls are held, was incorrect.

He gave examples of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where people voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections and for local party in Assembly elections.
“It’s wrong to say that simultaneous polls are an idea floated by Mr Modi. It’s been debated for long, since the early 1990s. 

The only thing done by NDA government now is that it has brought this issue back into focus. It’s also meaningless to say that those supporting simultaneous polls are BJP supporters. We extended support only in the interest of the nation, to save public money and ensure development is not disrupted due to frequent polls,” Mr Vinod Kumar said. He argued that simultaneous polls were not new to Telugu states and they were held five times since 1989.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad