Hold Odisha polls simultaneously if LS election advanced: BJD to EC

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday requested the Election Commission to hold Odisha Assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the event of the latter being advanced.

Party MP Pinaki Mishra, in a letter to the poll panel, said holding simulations elections will save the state Rs 1,000 crore. Elections in the state are due in April-May next year.

Odisha is among the few states where elections to both the Lok Sabha and the assembly are being held simultaneously since 2004.

"On behalf of the BJD, we request you that in the event any decision is taken by the central government to prepone the Lok Sabha polls, before they are scheduled to be held in 2019, we would request you to make adequate preparations to hold elections to the Odisha assembly simultaneously, so as to save the extra expenditure of almost Rs 1,000 crore, which an upcoming state like Odisha can ill-afford," Mishra said in the letter.

If concurrent elections to Lok Sabha and the state legislative assembly is held then the expenditure is shared between central and respective state governments, he said.

BJD has maintained a equidistance both from the BJP and the Congress.

In June this year, BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal for holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

We support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. This will serve the country well," he had said.

Political parties are divided on the issue of holding simultaneous polls. Besides NDA constituent Shiromani Akali Dal, the AIADMK, the Samajwadi Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have supported it.

The Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the DMK, the Telugu Desam Party, the Left parties and the JD(S) have opposed the proposal.

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