Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Sunday questioned the long drawn polling in intense heat conditions and suggested general election should be held in two or three phases. He said February-March or October-November would be ideal weather condition for the polling in the country. He also disfavoured gap between voting days.
He stressed on a constitutional provision for conduct of election at the above-mentioned suitable time and said in the capacity of being chief of JD(U) he will write a letter to his counterparts in other parties after completion of current election to reach a consensus over the issue.
Kumar, a strong ally of the BJP in Bihar, exuded confidence that Narendra Modi would return to power after counting of votes on May 23.
The JD(U) chief’s views were seen as a discordant voice within the ruling NDA. But, Kumar said he was saying this on the basis of his long political stint and also talking to cross-sections of the people
“Such a long drawn election should not be held in such intense heat conditions. This is not an appropriate time for holding elections. It must be either held in February-March or October-November in two to three phases in our country,” Kumar told reporters in Patna.
He was talking to reporters after casting his vote at a polling station located at a government school near Raj Bhavan. It falls under Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency where Congress candidate Shatrughan Sinha is locked in a close fight with Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad.
Kumar said that elections should be held in minimal phases so that voters should not have any problems in exercising their franchise as there is no shade for them at polling stations and they have to stand in queues amid soaring mercury
“There should be unanimity among people that there should be constitutional arrangement that whenever there is election, it should be held at aforementioned time (Feb-Mar or Oct-Nov) and should not be held in so many phases,” the chief minister said, adding that there is no point having big gap between two phases of polling.
Ideally, elections should be held in one phase across the country but since the country is so big it should be held in two or three phases keeping in mind the hilly areas of northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.
Stating that the long drawn elections can’t be seen as mismanagement, Kumar said that “After the elections are over, I as a president of my party, will write letter to the presidents of all political parties for discussion on the issue (timing for holding elections) despite the fact that we have so much differences over many issues.”
It would be good for everyone especially for voters if the idea is accepted by parties, he said, adding that the idea is in the interest of the country.
In reply to a query, Kumar exuded confidence that NDA government will be formed at the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Asked about his issues during the campaigning, Kumar said that his only issue was development work which he did in the past 13 years and also the work done by the Central government which he raised during his election meetings.