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Nitish Kumar Backs Modi on Simultaneous Elections, But Rules Out Mid-term Polls in Bihar

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was critical of the Code of Conduct imposed by the Election Commission before every election, which, he said, affects governance and development projects.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:September 18, 2017, 2:57 PM IST
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Nitish Kumar Backs Modi on Simultaneous Elections, But Rules Out Mid-term Polls in Bihar
File photo of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo: Getty Images)
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Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday backed the Narendra Modi government over a host of contentious issues, ranging from simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to rising petroleum prices. He also attacked the Congress government in Karnataka for “not being able to solve” the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

Expressing his anguish over the pace of progress in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, Nitish attacked the Siddaramaiah government, saying it was a “total failure” so far. “ I am not getting any news of any arrest. What has happened? Like any other conscious person, I am also keen to see who were behind this crime. But the Karnataka government has not come out with anything on this and nobody is questioning,” he said.

Nitish Kumar, who is also the national president of the Janata Dal (United) and returned to the NDA fold in July, said if such an incident had happened in Bihar, all hell would have broken lose. “But no one, including the media, is questioning the Karnataka government.”

He also defended the rising petroleum prices, saying it was now being decided by the open market and interference required policy intervention. When asked whether petroleum products should be brought under GST, he replied, “We should also keep in mind that the sale of petroleum products constitutes a large amount of government’s revenue which is used for other welfare schemes. The state governments also get their share. As far as the question of bringing it under GST is concerned, the central government or GST Council should take a decision in this regard.”

The Bihar Chief Minister echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch for holding Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously, but ruled out any possibility of mid-term election in the state.

Nitish said that he was in favour of holding simultaneous elections of every legislative unit, from Lok Sabha to local bodies, having a fixed term of five years but it required few amendments.

“Till 1967, Assembly elections were held with Lok Sabha polls, but political instability prevented that in later years. I principally agree with the Prime Minister’s point of view on this issue and if there is a consensus that the same can be implemented from 2024,” he said.

However, he expressed the need of constitutional amendment to ensure simultaneous elections in perpetuity as the term of the elected body would require a fixed term to make it possible. “We will have to ensure that whoever forms the government in the state or at the Centre completes five-year tenure. It may require new statute,” Nitish said.

The CM was critical of the Code of Conduct imposed by the Election Commission before every election, which, he said, affects governance and development projects.

Nitish, however, ruled out holding Assembly election in the state with Lok Sabha in 2019, saying his preference is fulfilling the promises he made to the people during the last election.

“JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh had voiced similar point of view on holding simultaneous elections, but it was interpreted as if I am in favour of midterm election in the state, which is not true,” Nitish clarified.
| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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