New Delhi: Both the ruling BJP and main Opposition Congress on Saturday stayed away from day one of consultations by the Law Commission on feasibility of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together even as regional parties expressed apprehensions that simultaneous elections would allow national players and issues to dominate the polls and put smaller parties at a disadvantage.
The Trinamool Congress and the CPI were the two recognised national parties to attend the consultation. Both vociferously opposed the concept simultaneous polls, sources said.
The Trinamol Congress was represented by Kalyan Bandhopadhyay, its Lok Sabha member, at the meeting. His party opposed the concept saying that regional issues would be overshadowed by national issues, and national parties with their "money power" would steal a march over smaller players.
NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal supported the concept of simultaneous polls, saying it would reduce expenditure of parties and shorten the period of the model code of conduct which hampers development work, the sources in the law panel present at the deliberations said. The SAD was represented by its Rajya Sabha (RS) member Naresh Gujral, who raised the issue of impact on RS polls in case the term of an Assembly is extended to ensure that its elections are held along with that of Lok Sabha.
"This is an important issue which has to be kept in mind," said a law panel functionary. The AIADMK, represented by Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai, said holding the two polls together is "desirable" but certain "practical" and "serious" issues need to be settled first.
The AIADMK, which rules Tamil Nadu, was of the view that if necessary, simultaneous elections should be held in 2024 and not before that. Sources said that the party was also of the view that the TN Assembly should be allowed to complete its term and the Lok Sabha elections should be held as per schedule.