Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been advocating for holding both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously for a long time. Backing up his proposal, the Janata Dal (United) on Monday (January 8) said the party is prepared to go for Assembly elections in Bihar as early as in December this year, almost two years ahead of schedule, if simultaneous polls are held for the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. JD(U) secretary-general KC Tyagi told The Indian Express that his party is in support of the idea of simultaneous state and national elections, proposed by the PM. He pointed out that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has already termed it “a very good proposal” because he feels it will “not only reduce the period of election atmosphere but also provide maximum time to elected governments for work.” Tyagi further said that the party is ready to go to the polls half-way through its current assembly term.
Notably, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also said the two elections should be held together so that both money and resources can be saved, as per various media reports. Assembly polls in Bihar will be due in 2020 while Lok Sabha elections are to be held in 2019. If the two elections are to be held simultaneously then the Assembly would have to be dissolved about a year-and-a-half before time. Bihar Assembly elections were last time held in October-November 2015.
Earlier, in October last year, the Election Commission (EC) of India said it would be logistically equipped to hold simultaneous polls for state assemblies and Lok Sabha by September 2018. Election Commissioner O P Rawat told reporters, as quoted by the Indian Express, that the EC will be in a position to hold simultaneous polls from September 2018, by when all machines are expected to be delivered. Around 40 lakh EVMs and VVPATs would be needed for simultaneous polls.