In a complete U-turn, the TDP in Andhra Pradesh said that conducting simultaneous polls would weaken leaders of regional parties across the country.
In a statement, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said, "Simultaneous polls are a move to weaken regional leaders. No national party is in a position to form government at the Centre on its own and support of regional parties has become mandatory. Strengthening of regional parties has become a big obstacle for national parties."
As a result, Ramakrishnudu said that the move to hold simultaneous elections only sought to weaken regional leaders.
Cautioning people to be 'vigilant', he also lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, stating that no one had ever "resorted to such political conspiracies in the past like the BJP-led government at the Centre."
This is a complete turnaround from the party's earlier stand as the TDP was one of the first regional parties to support the proposed move by the central government.
In March last year, the Chandrababu Naidu-led government had even suggested that polls to urban and rural local bodies should be conducted within one year of the elections to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
Addressing the joint session of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and Assembly on the opening day of the Budget session in Amaravati, Governor ESL Narasimhan had in March 2017 said that in order to take a considered view on the issue, it was desirable to hold a national debate.
"My government is in full agreement with the view that elections to both the Assemblies and the Lok Sabha be held simultaneously so that the governments at the Centre and in the states could pay undivided attention to issues of policy and governance during their tenures. We will go a step further and suggest that elections to urban and rural local bodies too should be held within one year of elections to the state and central legislative houses," the Governor had said.
"Historically, elections to the Assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held together but over the years, for varied reasons, they were de-coupled. Now, the situation has come to a stage that we conduct elections in significantly large parts of the country almost every year, if not throughout the year. Political parties, and therefore governments, continually have to keep an eye on electoral calculations. This is bound to take its toll on governance, policy-making and administration," he added.
The Law Commission has invited all the national and recognised state political parties to hold consultations on July 7-8 on the practicality of conducting simultaneous polls.
The Commission has prepared a draft paper on "Simultaneous Elections - Constitutional and Legal Perspectives" and has sought opinions of "all stakeholders" including political parties, constitutional experts, bureaucrats, academia etc on the paper before finalising its report and sending it to the government.
However, opposition parties have generally dismissed the suggestion mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an alleged ploy by him to divert attention from other, more important, issues.
In its draft, the law panel has recommended several amendments to the Constitution and the Representation of People's Act, 1950 to facilitate and sustain the simultaneous polls.