Amid speculations that the Narendra Modi government could prepone the general elections scheduled to be held in April-May 2024, Union minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday said that there is no plan to advance or delay the elections.
The speculations of early elections arose after the Modi government called a special session of the Parliament on September 18-22. As the government has not laid out any agenda for the session, speculations have emerged, ranging from the announcement of early polls to introduction of key bills such as ones on uniform civil code (UCC) or 'one nation, one election'.
In an interview with India Today, Thakur termed speculations of early or late elections as "media conjecture".
"I&B Minister Anurag Thakur tells India Today that the government has no plans of advancing general elections and that PM Modi would like to serve India’s citizens till the last day of his term. The governmentt also has no plans of delaying the forthcoming round of assembly elections to hold them later along with the general elections. Thakur dismissed all talk of polls being advanced or delayed as media conjecture," reported India Today's Rahul Kanwal, who interviewed Thakur.
I&B Minister Anurag Thakur tells India Today that the government has no plans of advancing general elections and that PM Modi would like to serve India’s citizens till the last day of his term.— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) September 3, 2023
The Govt also has no plans of delaying the forthcoming round of assembly elections… pic.twitter.com/G8WeYg5MbS
In the interview, Thakur also addressed the issue of 'one nation, one election' issue, which the Modi government has proposed and the Opposition has rejected.
Shortly after the announcement of the special parliamentary session, the Modi government announced the formation of a committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to look into the possibility of simultaneous elections in the country for the nation, states, and local levels. While supporters have said it would save time and resources and free leaders from campaigning for governance, critics have said the constitutional framework does not allow it and it's not required and is a distraction from the issues the country is facing.
In the interview, Thakur said the "the government has big plans" for the special parliamentary session, but did not reveal anything.
"Thakur hinted that the government has big plans for the special session of Parliament which starts on Sept 18, but the minister did not reveal the agenda of the special session, asking the India alliance not to be unduly frustrated and that the agenda would be revealed at the appropriate time by the Parliamentary affairs minister," reported India Today's Kanwal.
The speculation around the special session has further been fuelled by reports that arrangements are being made for a group photo of MPs. Such group photos are only taken, as per the established norms and trends, at the beginning of the first and last sessions of a Lok Sabha.
While specualations range from bills of UCC of 'one nation, one election', there have also been reports that say that the new session could be about holding discussions on India's G20 presidency or switching to the new parliament complex that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated in May.