YSR Congress supports idea of simultaneous polls

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Amaravati: YSR Congress, the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, today supported the idea of holding simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies, listing an equal number of advantages and disadvantages and also various challenges.

It said the ‘disadvantages and challenges’ need to be addressed holistically, including by amending the Constitution as necessary, by evolving a consensus so as to convert them into advantages.

YSRC’s Rajya Sabha member V Vijayasai Reddy and Leader of the Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, Ummareddy Venkateswarlu, presented the party’s stand in a nine page letter to the Law Commission, listing the advantages, disadvantages and challenges involved, a party release here said.

The YSRC apprehended that simultaneous elections might reduce the importance of state elections and adversely affect the regional parties.

“There is a possibility this perception may be true that even though Centre and states are equal and sovereign within their own jurisdictions, simultaneous elections may reduce the importance of state elections and regional parties would get adversely affected, which is not good for federal structure of the country,” it noted.

The party also wanted the Law Commission to undertake an in-depth study into the ‘defects’ in the first-past-the-post system and recalled the recommendations made in the Commission’s 170th report in 1999 on a hybrid system.

The YSRC noted that simultaneous elections could bring down the government’s expenditure, but there was no guarantee that expenditure of political parties would also come down.

While the election expenditure in 2009 was Rs 1,100 crore, it shot up to Rs 4,000 crore in 2014.

“One can imagine what would be the cost of Lok Sabha elections in 2019,” it observed.

The Law Commission’s two day consultations at Delhi with all the national and state parties on the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls ended yesterday.

Four parties had supported it, while nine opposed it.

Seeking to give shape to the government’s concept of “one nation, one election”, the Commission’s internal working paper has recommended holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously, but in two phases, beginning 2019.

 

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