Chouhan ‘strongly’ favours simultaneous polls

By Brajendra Nath Singh

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan favours simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies so that governments and ruling parties can concentrate on governance after the elections.

Even by-elections should be done away with as continuous elections distract government’s attention from governance, the Chief Minister told IANS in an interview.

“I have been raising this issue for a long time. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has been raising this issue prominently. Continuous elections not only prevents country’s development but also public welfare. After we complete an election, another election comes. Candidly speaking, when elections are there, our attention gets diverted and pace of development works gets affected.

“Decisions get held up and sometimes delayed. I strongly favour simultaneous elections. It should be implemented by amending the necessary provisions in the Constitution. After this, whichever party gets the mandate, it should run the government for a full term and focus on development.”

The Chief Minister noted the Prime Minister has called for a consensus on the issue.

“One party cannot decide it…. Because (if the proposal is accepted) the tenure of some governments may be cut. Political parties should accept the Prime Minister’s appeal and can reach a broad consensus,” he said.

“I am hopeful that something positive will emerge out of it. Although it’s not so easy but it is necessary in the nation’s interest.”

On by-elections, he said he was of the view that they should be scrapped.

“The Election Commission can fix the procedure. If a seat falls vacant due to someone’s death, the winning party can appoint it’s candidate or whoever secured the second position (in the election) may be given the opportunity. EC should find a way out.”

Now, Chouhan said, even if someone loses local body polls, an atmosphere is created that the Chief Minister has lost the confidence of the people, that his popularity has gone down.

“So the government and the party in power give their best to win even local body elections. We lose valuable time in election after election.”

Chouhan also backed state funding of elections.

“The EC can do it by allocating budgets to all political parties. It can take steps to publish the election manifestos, appeals of the parties. It can even arrange platforms for election speeches and decide which party would speak on which day. State funding is a must.”

(Brajendra Nath Singh can be contacted at brajendra.n@ians.in)

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