Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he did not see any “immediate possibility” of holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls simultaneously as meeting constitutional requirements for it to happen would take a lot of time. The JD(U) president, who had switched allegiance to the BJP-led NDA from the Congress-led opposition alliance last year, said he was in principle supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for simultaneous elections, according to a statement. President Ram Nath Kovind in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Monday had advocated for simultaneous polls, and Modi too had strongly supported it. Kumar said that simultaneous polls will bring down the cost of holding elections and also give elected governments more time for development. However, he added, “Constitutional requirements will have to be met for this and it will take a lot of time. There seems to be no immediate possibility of holding the Lok Sabha and assembly polls simultaneously”. He also met Water Resources and River Development Minister Nitin Gadkari to seek the Centre’s support in completing irrigation projects in Bihar on time.
Kumar also highlighted the harm done to the state by almost annual floods, mostly caused by discharge of water from neighbouring Nepal, and sought the Centre’s help in finding a quick solution to the problem. Last year, the state government had spent over Rs 4,600 crore in relief work and anywhere between Rs 4,000-5,000 crore is spent every year to help the flood-affected people, he said. The chief minister said it was imperative to remove huge amounts of silt deposited in rivers to reduce the impact of floods caused in Bihar and in the adjacent state of Uttar Pradesh, the statement said.
He asked Gadkari to get Nepal’s help to address the issue. Gadkari, it said, assured Kumar of immediate action and said his views are not different from the chief minister. He will also help the state get loans from the World Bank, Gadkari said.