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LUCKNOW: Congress is bracing for early Lok Sabha elections and has asked party workers to be prepared if the polls, scheduled for 2019, are advanced to this year-end.
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told party workers here on Saturday that there was a “90% chance” of parliamentary polls being held around November this year. “You, as members, have served the party for so many years and now we need you to focus all your energy on realising our dream of winning the next election,” said Azad, the AICC general secretary in charge of UP.
Talk of Lok Sabha polls being held earlier, along with assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year, has been doing the rounds in political circles for quite some time.
The buzz gained ground at the start of the Budget session, when President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address to the joint sitting of the two Houses, called for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
Speaking to NDA floor leaders in Parliament, PM Narendra Modi too raised the issue with a call for a debate on ‘One Nation, One Election’.
The opposition, however, is wary of simultaneous polls, fearing it may play into Modi’s game-plan of a presidential-style campaign to beat anti-incumbency.
Earlier this week, BJP lost two Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seat to Congress in bypolls in Rajasthan.
Senior Congress members said after its loss in Rajasthan, BJP may not like to wait too long for the Lok sabha polls. Congress MLA Aradhana Mishra cited the Budget to explain why the party was expecting early elections.
“The government has focused on farmers in the Budget because it has realised its weak points. It has hiked the minimum purchase price of crops but they cannot give it by October… By the time the next crop is ready, they will announce elections and the model code of conduct would be in place,” she said.