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Panellists feel that though multiple polls are a huge drain on the nation, the move needs to be carefully examined

The Centre is planning to hold elections to the Lok Sabha along with 12 state assemblies. This is in consonance with the proposal mooted by BJP president Amit Shah in his letter to the Law Commission of India.

APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue. Anchorperson Anant Tyagi spoke to BJP’s Sunil Bharala, Congress’s Vijendra Singh, RJD’s Ashok Singh, JDU’s Saiyyad Afzal Abbas, NCP’s Sachin Ahir, former IAS officer SK Verma, and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Raju said: “Amit Shah has written the letter. Finally, people only want stability. It needs to be seen if such a move will benefit the people.”

Verma said: “I think it’s a good idea. Why should the country always be in election mode and mood? Such activities put development on the back-seat. People are already in poll mood. Though the logistics need to be worked out, like we shall need to provide dual voting machines, double manpower to cater to both LS polls and Vidhan Sabha polls, and so on.”

Abbas said: “There are some stumbling blocks. It’s not east, though we are all for it. It will eventually help the nation. Money will be saved, deployment of manpower will be only once, much savings on infrastructure.”

Raju said: “Definitely, the move will help to save money, both for the government as well as for the political parties.  From the point of view of wastage, this is a welcome move. If EC is willing, it means that it has the machines and the wherewithal/logistics  to hold simultaneous polls.”

Vijendra  Singh said: “Why is the BJP so keen? As per India’s constitution, this provision was not there. Are we going the Chinese way? The move is meant to deflect attention from scams like Rafale.”

Ashok Singh said: “It is certain that the saving goal will be achieved, though it is also true that the move deflects attention from the scams that people are targeting the BJP with. In 2014, there was a popular wave for the BJP, it is not so now. This explains why the BJP is proposing such a move. ”

Bhrala said: “We won in Tripura, Assam, why do these leaders feel the BJP is getting desperate? We have the Election Commission looking at such things, and it was the EC’s suggestion, after consulting all parties. The move is meant to scuttle the difficulties arising out of multiple polls. It is the other parties that are feeling the pressure, not the BJP.”

Raju said: “One nation, one poll looks good as a slogan. Rafale has not even been declared a scam, but Congress is in a hurry to do so. So various parties do have their own agendas. The pros and cons should be discussed fully before going in for such a move.”

Ashok Singh said:”It’s not the EC that held a meeting for this, it was the Law Commission that held the meeting. Anyway, we are fully prepared.”

Abbas said: “Of course hurdles are expected. All parties need to sit and discuss the issue.”

Ahir said: “There are multiple regional parties, and multiple regional issues, like in J&K, where the BJP withdrew support abruptly after 3.5 years, and so polls are due. If the BJP is so clear intentioned, why it withdrew support in the Valley?”

Raju said: “The legal aspects need to be examined in this issue. All parties need to be on the same page for this. Smaller parties’ interests need to be kept in mind, as they should not get overpowered by the might of the larger parties.”

—Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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