Guwahati, Thursday, January 4, 2018
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Likelihood of premature LS elections
 GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - With speculation emerging in the corridors of power in New Delhi that the BJP-led NDA government may dissolve the Lok Sabha prematurely and advance the General Elections by a few months to hold them simultaneously with Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan by the end of this year, opposition parties in Assam have stated that they are ready for early polls.

Leaders of various opposition parties told The Assam Tribune that the BJP is facing huge anti-incumbency across the country and so it wants to use the ‘charisma’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold on to power in the three states while also using the opportunity to regain power at the Centre.

They said the recent Gujarat poll results have caused consternation within the BJP that its hold over its traditional vote base is eroding fast, and so the saffron party wants to use every opportunity to stave off defeat at the Centre as well as in the politically important states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

“Our party leadership is anticipating early elections. As a team BJP has failed. BJP governments are facing anti-incumbency everywhere. So the ruling party wants to use the personal image of Modi to win polls as it believes he can deliver them victory,” Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia told this newspaper.

He said the State Congress is ready for polls. “We believe it will be advantage Congress whenever the Lok Sabha polls are held,” said Saikia, who is also leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

“It would not be surprising at all if the BJP government goes for early polls. With the kind of scare they got in Gujarat, where the Congress lost in around 15-20 constituencies by very narrow margins, the BJP wants to use the opportunity of simultaneous polls to regain power in New Delhi as well as the three major states. Constitutionally and legally, they can do it (go for premature polls) but it would be morally unethical because the mandate of the Lok Sabha is for five years,” said AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam.

He said the BJP managed to hang on to Gujarat only due to sustained campaigning by Modi and added that the saffron party wants to use the same formula for elections in other states as well as the next Lok Sabha polls.

Asked about his party’s preparedness to face early Lok Sabha polls, Islam said, “We are a small party, but our organisational base in Assam is strong. We are always ready for polls. We will put up a good fight in the constituencies of Assam.”

The Communist Party of India (CPI) said that anti-incumbency against BJP regimes at the Centre as well as in various states is growing.

“We have to admit that what happened in Gujarat is not unique. People across the country are bearing the brunt of BJP’s neo-liberal economic policies. And BJP will most likely lose the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. So they may very well use the formula of simultaneous polls to gain advantage,” said CPI’s Assam State Council assistant secretary Munin Mahanta.

He added, “If circumstances compel us to face early elections, we are ready. It will give the people of Assam and India an opportunity to throw out the NDA government at the Centre.”

The terms of the State Assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will end in early December and elections in those states are expected around October-November.

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