Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD Government mulling simultaneous elections in Odisha ahead of the schedule has become apparent following a meeting between a senior BJD leader and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in New Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
“The Election Commission has planned to conduct early elections. In this connection, I have requested the Commission on behalf of the BJD to include Odisha if it takes a decision in this regard,” BJD MP Pinaki Mishra told mediapersons after a meeting with the CEC, Om Prakash Rawat.
He further said that by conducting the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously, the state will be able to save a huge expenditure of about Rs 1000 crore. Besides, simultaneous polls will also drastically cut down the duration of the model code of conduct, which prohibits several developmental works in the state, he pointed out.
“The Election Commission has given due importance to our proposal,” Mishra said.
“We have always said and have been saying this since the last two years that simultaneous elections should be held for the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.
It may be recalled that in 2016, senior BJD leader Pradip Maharathi had told the media that the BJD will have to work hard if simultaneous elections are not held in Odisha. “The BJD will have the scope to kill two birds with one stone if simultaneous polls are held in the state,” he had pointed out.
Commenting on the issue, senior lawyer of the Orissa High Court and BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya, said that till date, the Election Commission has not announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections.
“The Election Commission has the Constitutional rights to decide the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections. Besides, the Odisha Assembly has not been dissolved. I don’t have knowledge that the state government can suggest such matters in advance through a letter to the Election Commission,” he noted.
Asked about the matter, senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra said, “Whenever the BJP government at the Centre is in trouble, the BJD has come to its rescue. This time also, the BJD has lent a helping hand to the saffron party. So there is nothing new in it and one should not be surprised. This decision taken by the BJD is nothing but political.”