New Delhi: Terming Centre's push to conduct simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls as unconstitutional, the Opposition claimed this is yet another "jumla" (gimmick) of the Narendra Modi-government.
"In a parliamentary democracy, especially when we have 30 states, under the present Constitution you cannot have simultaneous election. This is another of those election jumla. One nation, one tax was a jumla. Now one nation, one election is a jumla," said Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday.
The statement comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PM Modi) and President Ram Nath Kovind asked all parties to pave the way to create an environment to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Chidambaram further added that simultaneous polls can be artificially constructed by advancing some elections and postponing some, but it cannot be pulled off in all the 30 states.
"Since most parties (in the opposition) are single-state parties, their agenda is rather limited. Therefore, it is very difficult to bring all opposition parties together,” he said, adding, "What if a government falls tomorrow? Will you put it under President's rule for four years? It can't be done."
The former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also claimed that Modi government's claim to create 75 lakh jobs by March is "outrageous" and "simply not possible" in Indian context.
“Take this new theory that we will create 75 lakh jobs by March in this country. I mean, you are exposed. Let's look at the numbers. In 2014-15, the EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation) numbers jumped by 23 lakh. It was when economy grew by 7.5 per cent. In 2015-16, EPFO numbers jumped by 25 lakh as the economy grew at 8 per cent. In 2016-17, it is expected to jump by 75 lakh. How can it jump by 75 lakh?" questioned Chidambaram.
The Congress leader was speaking at the release of his book "Speaking Truth to Power", a collection of his articles published in a leading English dailies.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's recent promotion as the Congress chief, Chidambaram said that nine out of 10 partymen are happy with it. "Don't write off the Congress party...Wait for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan poll results," he said, while referring to 2019 elections.
President Kovind formally pitched the idea of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies in his maiden address to the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament.
He said frequent polls posed a "huge burden" on resources and impeded the development process, a fact reiterated by PM Modi for a while now.