It should be a relief to the government that the Election Commission has cleared the way for the presentation of the Union budget on 1 February. The government advanced the budget calendar so that it could start spending from the start of the financial year. Postponing it in light of the upcoming assembly elections would have affected government business with wider economic implications.
However, the nod also means that the government cannot announce specific schemes for poll-bound states. It’s in situations like these that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for simultaneous elections to assemblies and Parliament becomes relevant.
To be sure, it won’t be easy to move to a new electoral cycle, which is why it’s important for political parties to start discussions on how to implement the idea. Apart from legal hurdles, the fact that political parties are forever eyeing one assembly election or the other leads to narrow political concerns infiltrating policymaking.