However, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal expressed its dissatisfaction over the Election Commission announcing a seven-phase poll for the state, saying the staggered elections would put pressure on the people.
Congress leader K.C. Venugopal said the Congress and the Opposition were united and confident and would defeat the Narendra Modi-led NDA.
“This government hasn’t delivered on any of its poll promises, including Rs 15 lakh in each bank account, jobs to two crore youths every year, security to women, increasing income of farmers,” he said.
The government is desperately trying to cover up its failures “through fake propaganda, event management and diversionary tactics”, the Congress leader said.
“Time for change is here. This government has divided the people of the country through the divisive policies and communal strategies. The Congress will expose its failures and put forward ideas for a new India,” he said.
“We are confident that this democratic process will dethrone this anti-democratic and dictatorial Modi government from the power”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said people of Delhi will vote for giving full statehood to Delhi and not for choosing a Prime Minister and will elect the Aam Aadmi Party candidates on all the seven seats.
He also said time had come to throw out “the most dictatorial government.”
“Ultimately back to we the people — the real power of our democracy. Time to throw out the most dictatorial and anti-federal govt in the history of India. Time to seek answers on demonetisation, jobs, destruction of traders and brotherhood among different communities,” he said in a tweet.
BSP leader Mayawati welcomed the poll schedule and said people will vote to throw the Modi governent out.
“Crores of poor, labourers, farmers, women, youth, etc, participate in great strength in polling. Respecting them, free, fair and peaceful polling is utmost necessary.
“The anti-poor and pro-capitalist Modi government’s functioning disturbed peace and tranquillity, causing unrest and anger among the masses. India’s 130 crore peace-loving people certainly deserve a better government. The new government must honour the Constitution, respect democratic values and care for sarvasamaj,” she said in tweets.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said it was not merely a poll announcement but a declaration of the big change that is going to come about in the country soon.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the model code of conduct had come into force with announcement of general elections and it would end the “unfair use of government resources by the Modi government”.
Yechury said secular, democratic India is confident that the Election Commission (EC) will conduct free, fair and safe elections to ensure a smooth transition to the next government.
In a series of tweets, he also said there were serious concerns over funding enabled by “opaque electoral bonds” brought in by this government and excessive spending by the ruling party and it is important that this is closely monitored and the integrity of the electoral process is maintained.
“In Bengal, large-scale violence and intimidation in past few elections has been disturbing. The EC must pay special attention to ensure that the destruction of democracy, as it happened in local elections, is not repeated. Sanctity of each voter’s franchise is what preserves our Republic,” he said.
On Jammu and Kashmir, Yechury said it is perplexing how the security situation in the state was good enough to conduct Lok Sabha elections, but not for assembly elections, which are also due. “Is there a diabolical motive?” he wondered.
In Kolkata, senior Trinamool leader and state minister Firhad Hakim also questioned the holding of polls during Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day. Ramadan will fall in May-June this year.
“Whether the elections are held for five phases, or seven, or 14, that doesn’t matter, because our leader Mamata Banerjee has a place in the people’s hearts,”: he said.