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K Chandrashekar Rao for joint polls, writes to law panel

TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday expressed the party’s complete support to the Centre’s proposal to hold simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state Assemblies across the country. The proposal has been opposed by the Congress, Trinamul, CPI, DMK, AAP and the MIM. It has found support with NDA-ally Shiromani Akali Dal, and the TRS backing of the measure raised speculation of a “secret alliance” between the TRS and the BJP.

Polls in undivided AP, and now in Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh, are usually held with the Lok Sabha elections. In a letter written to the National Law Commission, which conducted meetings with all political parties, to seek their views on simultaneous polls, Mr Rao said that holding elections separately for the Lok Sabha and the Assembly was hampering development and welfare activities being undertaken by state governments due to the model code of conduct being imposed for several months. TRS deputy floor leader in Lok Sabha B. Vinod Kumar who attended the National Law Commission meeting on Sunday on behalf of the TRS, handed over Mr Rao’s letter to commission chairman Justice B.S. Chauhan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Niti Aayog meeting held last year had mooted the idea of simultaneous polls and urged all states to seriously think and deliberate on this issue. Following this, the National Law Commission has been holding consultations with all parties to seek their views on simultaneous polls.

Mr Chandrasekhar Rao said in the letter: “We all know that four to six months of time is being spent in conducting elections each time to the Lok Sabha and the state legislatures. The state and district level administrative and security machinery will be very busy with conduct of elections twice in a period of five years as per the current practice.” He added, “Imposition of the model code of conduct for such a long period is also hampering development and welfare initiatives. Further, huge amounts of money, public money as well as of the political parties/ candidates is being spent twice in a period of five years, if elections are not held simultaneously”

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