New Delhi: Taking forward the discussion on simultaneous elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday hosted a meeting of all its chief ministers and deputy chief ministers to find ways to deliver on its promise of “one nation, one election”.
Senior BJP leaders are of the view that simultaneous elections are needed to push development. Chief ministers of several BJP states argued that because of the continuos process of elections and implementation of the model code of conduct, state governments were finding it difficult to carry out development work.
“There is a need to create awareness in the country and start the process of discussions so that people know that the functioning of the state governments was getting affected due to continuous elections and model code of conduct,” said a senior BJP leader who was part of the meeting.
The leader said the participants also discussed how to hold simultaneous assembly elections along with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections next year.
Some chief ministers also said that the Union government should hold discussions with various chief ministers, specially those of states ruled by opposition parties, to find a way to hold simultaneous elections in India.
“Coordination between centre and state governments is key to holding one nation, one poll. The Union government should hold discussions with various political parties to discuss the possibility of simultaneous elections during 2019 general elections,” the BJP leader added.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was attended by 19 chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of all BJP-ruled states. Senior leaders of the party, including BJP president Amit Shah, Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley were also part of the meeting.
BJP members also pointed out that holding simultaneous elections was not just about the Lok Sabha elections and assembly elections. “One nation, one poll is also about holding simultaneous elections at the national level, assembly elections, panchayat elections and also municipal elections. Creating awareness among people is the most important step in that direction,” the BJP leader said.
Modi has often said that all political parties and state governments should come together to allow simultaneous elections. He has argued that the decision to implement “one nation, one poll” is important because a lot of financial and human resources are used up in frequent elections.
Modi has also said another reason for holding simultaneous elections is that the security forces and the police find it difficult to serve the people as they are busy in election duties.
Political analysts said the BJP leadership was discussing the possibility of holding simultaneous elections in India because Modi believes it would help in the development of the country and save financial and human resources.
“Simultaneous elections will blend the impact of the national leadership on the outcome of the elections. It is also true that frequent elections do not allow stricter policy initiatives by the state governments because they try to woo the voters through freebies. Simultaneous elections will also give greater leverage to any state government to carry out faster development initiatives,” said Jai Mrug, Mumbai-based political analyst.