Simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly elections will save the country crores in money and years in time. For whatever political reasons, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revived the idea and now pursued by his party BJP, it has serious national interest too. Party president Amit Shah has written a proposal in this regard to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Political parties have stood at different positions on the issue with the AIADMK supporting it, CPI not sure and Congress and NCP opposing the idea. There is nothing unusual about the stand of the parties as they acted according to their party lines and not based on the issue. In India, the ruling party is hardly lauded by the opposition for any good work.
It is difficult to calculate what the BJP is going to gain from holding simultaneous polls except for taking the credit for making the biggest constitutional amendment since Independence. And if the decision turns out to be good in the coming years, the Opposition parties like Congress would have to regret forever for not taking the lead when it was on power. It seems, the fear of the opposing parties is not the difficulties the nation is going to face from simultaneous elections, but they are scared that the landmark decision might secure BJP’s future in Delhi for decades and turn most of the country saffron. The BJP has already called for a national debate on the issue, but the Congress stalling any such move in the Parliament will not be surprising.
Benefits of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls are very clear. Besides saving thousands of crores of money and the months, if not years, spent in electioneering, the exercise would also spare the people the frequent unnecessary political debates. If there has to be mid-term election, the new government must not be given five years but only the rest of the term that broke midway. In such case, parties are less likely to indulge in toppling games. There is a risk of the Central government becoming complacent as there is no state election in next five years. But let us take a chance since our governance is not world class, anyway!
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on June 17, 2016)