New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Stressing that the perennial electoral cycle hampered developmental projects in the country, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday strongly pitched for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

“The time has come to take a serious look at the possibility of simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies, and even municipal bodies, panchayats and cooperative bodies. Otherwise, in this country, this festival of elections will go on,” he said.

“In India, there is a continuous election season and election fever. Development takes a big hit. This has to be understood by all. That is why this suggestion for simultaneous elections,” the Vice President added.

He made the remarks after unveiling book “Loktantra Ke Utsav Ki Ankahi Kahani”, the Hindi version of “An Undocumented Wonder – The Making of the Great Indian Election” written by former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi.

He said the current practice of conducting elections in just a few states at a time tended to divert the country’s attention away from development and slowed progress.

“We should have learnt this in the last 69 years of our experience. Till 1967, elections were held simultaneously… a festival should be a festival, it should be celebrated only once in a while and not constantly,” he said.

Naidu also advocated for a more rational and more stringent anti-defection law.

“There is an imperative need to revisit the anti-defection law. We must examine as to what extent it has served its purpose, and if needed should be amended and made more stringent,” the Vice President said.

“Earlier, retail defection was bad, but now wholesale defection is allowed. People justify it by saying this is not defection but affection. It is also a disease weakening our democracy. We should deliberate and have a perfect anti-defection law,” Naidu said.

He also underlined the need to judicial disposal of election-related disputes in a time-bound manner as delayed judgments become meaningless.

“The judgments in such cases are delayed so much that they lose any meaning. Special election tribunals must be set up. The judiciary and government must have discussion on this,” he said.

Pointing out the need for other electoral reforms, Naidu stressed the need to curb money power in elections as also implementation of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments in letter and spirit.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.