The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu and Biswas differ over BJP ‘debate’

Calcutta, June 16: Jyoti Basu and Anil Biswas today adopted conflicting stances on the BJP’s proposal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies.

BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu yesterday called for a national debate on the need for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, which would allow the administration and political parties to focus on development and cut down expenditure.

Basu ruled out Naidu’s proposal saying simultaneous elections were “impossible” but state CPM secretary Biswas virtually welcomed it.

Biswas said such a move would reduce the expenses incurred by the parties before an election. “It is true that political parties as well as the government incur heavy expenditure because of frequent elections to Parliament and the Assemblies. But any decision in this regard has to be made at the national level after taking into confidence all political parties,” Biswas, a party politburo member, said.

He recounted that the first elections in Independent India were simultaneous elections to Parliament and the Assemblies in 1952.

Basu said: “I am very much against Naidu’s idea. How is it possible to hold Assembly elections in Bengal simultaneously with the Lok Sabha poll, which is due next year'”

Biswas’ support for the BJP’s stance evoked criticism from Left Front partners. Senior RSP leader Sunil Sengupta echoed Basu and slammed the BJP leadership for raking up a “hackneyed issue”. The Trinamul Congress, too, opposed the idea.

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