Lucknow: Madhya Pradesh former chief minister and BJP vice president Shivraj Singh Chauhan Sunday asserted his party is not dislodging anyone but it cannot do anything if the state government "falls due to infighting" within the Congress.
Chauhan, who was here during the weekend to address the district-level and regional-level heads of BJP's membership drive, said this when he was asked whether the BJP will form government in Madhya Pradesh before the assembly elections are held.
"Now, if the Congress (government) falls due to infighting in the party, then we cannot do anything. We are not dislodging anyone, but whatever is going on there (in MP) is not good," he told PTI in an interview.
The 15-year power drought ended for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh in 2017 when it defeated the saffron party in the assembly poll. Calling himself a "staunch supporter" of 'One Nation, One Election', the senior BJP leader, who is heading the party's membership drive, said Lok Sabha polls should be held along with Assembly elections to various states so that "uninterrupted development" can take place.
"I am a staunch supporter of One Nation, One Election. And, I have been supporting this concept while I was the chief minister. Continuous polls disrupt development and derail the country, as all political parties are engaged 24x7 in preparations for the next elections," Chauhan said.
He said, "In the interest of the country, the Lok Sabha polls should be held along with Assembly elections to various states so that uninterrupted development can take place for five years. When the focus of all the parties is on winning the elections, there is no long-term planning for the development of the country".
Highlighting the need for simultaneous elections, the three-time chief minister said, "As soon as the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were over, preparations started for the Lok Sabha elections. Now, after the parliamentary elections, it will be states like Haryana and Maharashtra, which are gearing up for polls."
He also said that in the Haryana Assembly elections, officers from Madhya Pradesh go as observers, which affect the working and functioning of the non poll-bound state, and unnecessary expenses are incurred.
Asked whether the One Nation, One Elections will push the smaller parties to the brink of existential crisis, Chauhan said, "See the case of Odisha, were assembly elections were held along with the Lok Sabha elections. In the parliamentary elections, the BJP got more votes, while in the Assembly election, it was Naveen Patnaik and his BJD, which got thumbs-up from the people of the state. They wanted Modiji as PM, and Naveen Patnaik as CM. People have become wise enough now".
Of the 146 Assembly seats in Odisha, the BJD won 112, while the BJP managed to win 23 seats. The BJP won 8 seats out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state, while the BJD won 12 parliamentary constituencies in the recently concluded polls.
The "one nation, one poll", which was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Lok Sabha election manifesto, has made the Opposition weary about the prospects.
In August last year, the Law Commission had recommended holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies to save public money. In its draft recommendations, the commission had said simultaneous polls, with an exception of Jammu and Kashmir, would help the government of the day focus on "developmental activities rather than electioneering". It, however, cautioned that holding simultaneous elections was not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution.
After Modi addressed a NITI Aayog meeting recently, an official release said, "The Prime Minister called for widespread debate and consultations on simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas, keeping in view various aspects such as the resulting financial savings and consequent better utilisation of resources."
The Niti Aayog had last year suggested synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly polls from 2024 to ensure minimum campaign-mode disruption to governance.
When asked to comment on the events unfolding in West Bengal and its Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chauhan said, "She has lost her mental balance and has become very agitated. Modiji's popularity definitely played an important role in BJP's stupendous performance in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal."
The BJP ushered a major surprise, winning 18 Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 42 in Bengal, only four less than the Banerjee-led TMC's tally of 22.
Buoyed by its stupendous victory, the saffron party has claimed that they would end the TMC rule in the next assembly poll in West Bengal in 2021.
Post-poll clashes between TMC and BJP supporters in Bengal grabbed headlines as the saffron party made inroads into the state. PTI