Hold simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and J&K Assembly in 2019: Harsh

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Jammu, JUNE 14
Reminding the BJP of its tall assurances to simultaneously hold the Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the country, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and Former Minister asked the Saffron Party to set a precedent by holding the Assembly elections in J&K along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 as it was running the governments both at the Centre as well as in the State. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today. Addressing the media, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a debate a while ago about holding elections to simultaneous elections to parliament and the state assemblies. The media appeared to be in favour of the idea and the Election Commission, whose duty was to implement it on the ground, lent its weight as well, he said. He further said that the Prime Minister had time and again supported the idea of holding simultaneous elections to Panchayats, Urban local bodies, States and Parliament so that parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering could make use of the time for social work and take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots. He maintained that for the current government, this was also important because in 2014 Election Manifesto, the BJP had vociferously trumpeted that if came to power, it would evolve a method to hold Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously. Besides the J&K Assembly would already be in its fifth year in 2019 having given sufficient time to the incumbent govt to prove its credentials, he said. Revealing electoral statistics, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh recalled that during the country’s first General Election in 1951-52, a simultaneous election to House of People (Lok Sabha) and all State Legislative Assemblies were held. This continued in three subsequent General Elections held in the years- 1957, 1962 and 1967. But in 1968 and 1969, the cycle got disrupted due to the premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies. Similarly in the year 1970, the Lok Sabha itself got dissolved prematurely. As a result of premature dissolution and extension of the terms of Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the cycle of simultaneous elections got disturbed, Harsh divulged. Describing the disadvantages of frequent elections in the country, Mr. Singh said that they affect the governance as the imposition of model code of conduct in the poll bound areas puts on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning. He said that since the elections in India were a big-budget exercise, the expenditure could be drastically reduced by conducting simultaneous elections besides the crucial manpower often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time would be made available for other important tasks.

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