Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday requested the Election Commission to hold Odisha Assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the event of the latter being advanced.
The letter, which was given to the poll panel in the national capital by party MP Pinaki Mishra, stated that holding simulations elections will save the state an extra expenditure of around Rs 1,000 crore.
Elections in the state are due in April-May 2019. Odisha is among the few states where elections to both the Lok Sabha and the Assembly are being held simultaneously since 2004.
"On behalf of the BJD, we request you that in the event any decision is taken by the central government to pre-pone the Lok Sabha polls, before they are scheduled to be held in 2019, we would request you to make adequate preparations to hold elections to the Odisha Assembly simultaneously, so as to save the extra expenditure of almost Rs 1,000 crore, which an upcoming state like Odisha can ill-afford," the letter stated.
Mishra said the party moved the Election Commission amid speculation that the general elections might be held ahead of its schedule in March-April 2019.
The BJD MP said there is speculation that Centre may go for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and 11 state assemblies.
"Odisha must be included in the 'one nation, one poll' proposal," he said."There is no immediate reason behind our move. But, we wanted to inform the Election Commission that the ruling BJD will like to go to polls along with the Lok Sabha elections," Mishra said.
If concurrent elections to Lok Sabha and the state legislative Assembly is held then the expenditure is shared between central and respective state governments, he said, adding a simultaneous elections will help avoid a long model code period that affects developmental works of the state government.
"The ECI said the party's proposal would be given due weightage," Mishra said. The BJD has maintained a equal distance both from the BJP and the Congress.
In June, BJD supremo and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal for holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
"We support Modi's appeal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. This will serve the country well," he had said.
Political parties are divided on the issue of holding simultaneous polls. Besides NDA constituent Shiromani Akali Dal, the AIADMK, the Samajwadi Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have supported it.
The Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the DMK, the Telugu Desam Party, the Left parties and the JD(S) have opposed the proposal.
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Updated Date: Sep 05, 2018 22:26:15 IST