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Can PM Modi go ahead with simultaneous polls!
For some time now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been giving enough indications stating his intention to go ahead with the idea of simultaneous polls in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.

For this, NITI Aayog has already drawn a blue print, ensuring to complete the process by 2024, beginning with holding elections in over 12 assemblies along with the Lok Sabha by this year-end.

However, the by-election results from Rajasthan have sent a warning signal for him stating that all is not well for the BJP. After Gujarat Assembly polls, most of the allies of the BJP seem be rethinking on continuing with the alliance. The oldest allay Shiva Sena has already declared that it would go alone in 2019 polls, by cutting-off its over two decade old alliance with the BJP. The third major party in the NDA, after the BJP and Shiva Sena, on the basis of number of MPs in Lok Sabha, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is also giving signals of walking out of the alliance. The TDP is upset over the raw deal meted out to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget 2018-19 and also failure of Prime Minister to assist the state in a big way from coming out bifurcation issues. AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has been facing pressure from his own party MPs and his ministers to snap ties with the BJP.

In Nagaland, BJP's collation partner since 15 years, Naga People's Front (NPF) has already severed its ties with the BJP as both the parties failed to reach an agreement on seat sharing.

In Jammu and Kashmir, BJP's relations with its coalition partner PDP also seem to be hanging in balance. In the meanwhile, another old allay Shiromani Akali Dal also raised revolt banner by accusing the Modi government of "not giving due respect to alliance partners", while turning around a key development slogan of Prime Minister Modi to say that "there should be 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' in the alliance also".

In Bihar, RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha recently shared the stage with Opposition RJD leaders at an event to demand better quality in the state's educational institutions. The RLSP is said to be unhappy over the BJP reviving its alliance with the JD(U), with Kushwaha indicating that his party may contest in all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar alone.

Although BJP President Amit Shah had declared a mission to win 350 seats in 2019 polls, the ground realities reveal that it would be difficult for the party to even retain its existing seats. In such a scenario, the BJP cannot afford hostile relations with its allies. On the other hand, Rajasthan bypolls and also recent Gujarat polls have revealed that the BJP is facing anti-incumbency in most of its ruled states due to misrule.

Although Modi had attempted to replace Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan two years ago after the Lalit Modi episode, she voiced a rebellious attitude. Rajasthan is the only major state which Modi hasn't visited as Prime Minister.

The performances of BJP governments in Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand are also questionable. A section of the BJP leadership is fearing that simultaneous polls would cost heavily on the reputation of Narendra Modi himself. So, they are suggesting him to advance Lok Sabha polls, say to April or May of this year, so as to preventmisrule by local government's from affecting Lok Sabha polls. If Modi goes by the advice of the NITI Aayog, at the end of the year, Assembly elections in almost a dozen states could be held along with the Lok Sabha elections. After that, the rest of the states can go to elections in 2022.

And in 2024, all elections can be held simultaneously. This is to be noted that the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh are scheduled at the end of this year. Along with that, Mizoram will also face elections. The government can think about holding the Lok Sabha elections along with these four Assembly Elections. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha go into elections at the time of the LS polls.

In April, two more Northeastern states, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, will go for elections. If the Election Commission (EC) desires, then these five States can go to elections before schedule. Hence, there will not be any constitutional obstacle in conducting the Lok Sabha elections and nine Assembly elections. Three more states can be added to this if the BJP and Modi give a go-ahead.

Elections in Jharkhand, Haryana, and Maharashtra are scheduled at the end of 2019. In these states, the BJP is the ruling party. These state governments can dissolve the Assembly and go for elections. In this case, all these elections can be held along with the LS elections. For the past few months, there has been a discussion in Bihar to go for elections along with the Lok Sabha. But already Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has indicated his opposition to the idea of simultaneous polls. Anyhow, simultaneous polls are bound to turn as a calculated risk for the BJP, particularly for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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