Is KCR ready for early polls?

If the Central Election Commission wants to hold simultaneous polls to the Assemblies of the States, whose term is ending either in the second half of 2018 or first half of 2019, along with Lok Sabha, Telangana too may duly witness “early” polls, irrespective of State government’s decision. The reason for this argument is that Section 14(2) in the Representation of the People Act, EC is empowered to hold elections to any State Assembly at any time earlier than six months prior to the date on which the duration of that particular House would expire, without its dissolution. Then, the EC can notify the elections to both the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, whose term is ending in between December this year to June next year, any day after December 3, depending on the expiry of the term of that particular House.

Besides Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram are the States whose Legislatures’ term is going to end in this “six months” period. The term of the present Lok Sabha will end by June 3, 2019.  That means, EC can hold Lok Sabha polls any day after December 3, 2018, considering the “six months” window period option. Thus, the EC can hold elections to the Legislatures of these seven States, six  months  prior  to  the  end  of  the  normal  term of  the  respective Houses, starting from December 3.

The Telangana Assembly term will end on June 8, 2019. That means, the EC is empowered to hold polls to TS Assembly at any time after December 8, 2018. If Election Commission decides to hold simultaneous polls after December 8, the Telangana government too will have to accept the same. If the Telangana government wants to have polls much prior to Dec 8, then the State Cabinet will have to recommend to the Governor for the dissolution of the House.

Against this backdrop, according to TRS sources, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is of the view that decision to go for Assembly polls either as per schedule or much before the usual time should be taken depending on the “move” of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is considering to hold simultaneous elections in the country. The reason behind CM’s decision is that he does not want general election and State Assembly polls to be clubbed.

“If Lok Sabha and Assembly polls are held at a time, the CM is of the view that pro-Modi and anti-Modi wave, along with national level issues, might influence the State Assembly results. KCR wants the electoral battle in the State to be framed around local issues, development programmes and welfare measures being implemented by his government. Hence, he is for holding the State Assembly polls separately,” sources said.

Another argument within the TRS is that as Assembly polls will be held in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in the coming December-January, where Congress Party is the main opposition, conducting Assembly polls in TS much prior to that might prevent the grand-old party from concentrating all its resources and energies on TS. If the EC is for holding simultaneous polls, KCR might either opt for holding Assembly polls in October-November, by dissolving the House after holding its monsoon session in July end.

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