A day after President Ram Nath Kovind pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections, Congress leader P Chidambaram termed it as another “election jumla” (gimmick), saying it cannot be done under the current constitutional provisions. Speaking at a panel discussion after the release of his book ‘Speaking Truth to Power’, Chidambaram said the Constitution of India does not give a fixed term to any government and unless it is amended, one cannot have simultaneous elections. “In a parliamentary democracy, especially when we have 30 states, under the present Constitution you cannot have simultaneous election. “This is another of these election jumla. One nation, one tax was a jumla. Now one nation, one election is a jumla,” he said in reply to a question. The former Union minister, whose book was released by ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, said one can artificially construct the appearance of a simultaneous election by advancing some elections and postponing some, and one could hold parliamentary election and elections to five or six states, but not in all the 30 states.
“What if a government falls tomorrow? Will you put it under President’s rule for four years? It can’t be done,” he said. President Kovind had, in his maiden address to the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament yesterday, made a strong pitch for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, and called for a consensus among political parties on the issue. He said frequent polls posed a “huge burden” on resources and impeded the development process. Prime Minister Modi has been pitching for this for some time now and urged political parties to arrive at a consensus after debating the issue.