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Advani seeks simultaneous polls for LS, state assemblies

PTI 23 Sep 2012, 11:48:08 IST
New Delhi, Aug 12: BJP leader L K Advani today strongly pitched for holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies which should have a “fixed tenure” and sought the President's initiative in this regard, saying frequent polls affect decision-making process.  

“Some time back I had occasion to discuss this matter with the Prime Minister and then Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and now the Rashtrapati Pranab Mukherjee. I found both of them receptive to the suggestion.

“I offered that there should be no midway dissolution of either the Lok Sabha or the state assemblies. Both these institutions must have a fixed tenure,” Advani wrote on his blog today.

Noting that a lot is being written these days about the need for election reforms to curb the role of money power, he urged the President to take “an initiative” to ensure poll reforms in their totality.

“Let the present government in which he (the President) himself has been a principal player accomplish this one thing at least: a fixed tenure for Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and simultaneous elections at the Centre and states every five years,” Advani said.

In this regard, he referred to the US where elections are held after every four years and also pointed to a legislation enacted by Great Britain last year for a fixed term of Parliament.

“When for six years we were in the NDA government we actually experienced how impending elections even in a remote corner of the country used to influence decision-making in New Delhi. I feel this is not good either for governance or for the polity,” he said.

Recalling the first general elections in 1952 when Lok Sabha and assembly polls were held together, Advani said the process was repeated in the next three elections of 1957, 1962 and 1967.

But elections to both the Centre and the states could not be held simultaneously in 1972 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi dissolved the Lok Sabha and held the fifth general elections in March 1971, he said. 

“The Assembly elections took place as scheduled in 1972.  This is how the initial delinking of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections took place,” he wrote on his blog. 

He said the presence of Article 356 in the Constitution which empowers the Union government to dissolve a state Assembly and take over the governance of the state has too resulted in the delinking of the election programme of different states from one another.

At present, he felt, with state after state going for elections every year, running the Union government has become a challenge especially when the country “is in a perpetual election mode”.
He said it would, therefore, be “very appropriate” if the new President takes the initiative in reforming electoral process.

“For the non-partisan responsibility, Pranab Da has just assumed, taking an initiative regarding electoral reform would be very appropriate,” he said.